Typhus

Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre

Distributed for Seagull Books

Translated by Chris Turner
212 pages | 6 x 7 1/2
Cloth $19.95 ISBN: 9781906497422 Published July 2010 World sales rights except India

Set in Malaya during the British protectorate, Sartre’s Typhus centres on the improbable couple formed by the disgraced former doctor Georges, who has sunk to the lowest depths of a highly stratified colonial society, and Nellie, a down-at-heel nightclub singer, whose partner succumbs to the typhus epidemic sweeping the country. Though it does not shy from the explosive issues of colonialism and race that are implicit in its setting, Typhus is both a turbulent love story in the best traditions of Western popular cinema and an existentialist tale of moral redemption that shares many fascinating parallels with Albert Camus’s novel The Plague.

Jean-Paul Sartre penned the screenplay Typhus in 1943–44 as a commission for French film-makers Pathé, who were planning a post-war production. However, the film was never made, though Yves Allégret’s 1953 film The Proud Ones retains some distant echoes of Sartre’s original script. The script was lost for nearly sixty years before being rediscovered and published in French in 2007. This first English publication will be essential for fans of Sartre and twentieth-century French literature and postwar film.

            “One of the most brilliant and versatile writers as well as one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century.”—The Times (UK)

“Jean-Paul Sartre dominated the intellectual life of 20th-century France to an extraordinary degree.”—Tom Bishop, New York Times

Joshua Finnell | Library Journal
"Sartre's lost screenplay is a tale of human redemption against a backdrop of utter hopelessness, a common theme in the work of the French existentialist. . . . Sartre's existential philosophy is better known through his creative works than his philosophical treatises. The first English translation of this screenplay, written in 1943/44 and rediscovered in 2007, adds to that understanding."
Jonathan Ree | Times Literary Supplement
"Now that Typhus has been published in French and in English translation, it is clear that the movie industry made a miscalculation in parting company with Sartre."
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