Sartre: The violence of history

Sartre Studies International 12 (1):50-58 (2006)
There is a sort of natural closeness between Sartre and violence. Many have claimed that Sartre was fascinated by violence. Authors as diverse as Michel-Antoine Burnier and Mohamed Harbi have criticised the violence in Sartre, and even Bernard-Henri Lévy sees in Sartre's preface to Fanon's Les Damnés de la Terre a 'Sartre possédé'. Unlike these authors, we claim that Sartre was in no way fascinated by violence. In his eyes, violence was an historical fact that was characteristic of his time and which he, personally, discovered at an early age. What is more, Sartre's violence is situational. If he discovered the world in books, it was also in books that he discovered violence. Books and history were the melting pots of a violence that haunts Sartre's work. The historical situations in which he found himself explain the omnipresence of violence in his work.
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DOI 10.3167/135715506780646277
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