- Paperback: 324 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press; 1 edition (29 June 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141045574
- ISBN-13: 978-0141045573
- Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 1.9 x 18.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 200 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Age Of Reason: Popular Penguins, The Paperback – 29 Jun 2009
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About the Author
Jean-Paul Sartre - one of the best-known and most discussed modern French writers and thinkers - was born in Paris in 1905. His friendship with Simone de Beauvoir, whom he met while studying philosophy at the Sorbonne, stretched over fifty years, until his death in 1980. He is perhaps best remembered as the founder of French existentialism and as a man of passion, fighting for what he believed in. Among his best known works are La Nausee (1938), Les Mouches (1943), Huis clos (1944) and the trilogy Les Chemins de la liberté; published in Penguin as The Age of Reason, The Reprieve and The Iron in the Soul.
The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir 1926-1939 is also published by Penguin.
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What Sartre does is immerse us in the struggles of these characters as they each attempt to define and make sense of their lives...this struggle informed, of course, by the existential principles of Sartre's own philosophy. What Sartre does so well in *The Age of Reason* is to portray the psychological torment of men and women under even fairly ordinary circumstances. Here is the quiet drama of consciousness, the sufferings of daily life...at least as it is experienced by those who give it any thought.
What does it mean to be free--to have a life that means something? These are the questions that obsess Mathieu as he runs into one dead-end after another in his search for the abortion fee and at the same time wallows in a hopeless erotic obsession with a self-destructive young female student. All the distinctive trappings of a French existential novel are here--the drinking, the brooding, the café's, the jazz bars, the intellectual dissection of every act and motive, the relentless self-analysis...it's a riveting read if you don't require a lot of explosions, kidnappings, and sordid murders to entertain you.
Unlike his stylistic experimentation in *The Reprieve,* Sartre narrates *The Age of Reason* in a traditional, straightforward style, but it's no less briskly-paced; if anything, there is a higher pitch of emotional intensity in this novel and less ennui than in *The Reprieve.* Its not absolutely necessary to read *The Age of Reason* first, I didn't, but I would definitely recommend doing so, as it enriches vastly your understanding of the characters in the second book.
As I mentioned in my review of *The Reprieve,* I can hardly believe that the Sartre of *Being and Nothingness* fame was capable of writing in such a lively and entertaining manner, *Nausea* aside. So this series has so far come as one of the most pleasant literary surprises I've had in years. If the French, their philosophy, or existentialism appeal to you at all--or just a good novel about interesting characters facing the void within life--then I'd unreservedly recommend you take a look at *The Age of Reason.*