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Distributed for Seagull Books


Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre counted among his friends and associates some of the most esteemed intellectuals, writers, and artists of the twentieth century. In Portraits (Situations IV), Sartre collected his impressions and accounts of many of his notable acquaintances, in addition to some of his most important writings on art and literature during the early 1950s.

Portraits includes Sartre’s preface to Nathalie Sarraute’s Portrait of a Man Unknown and his homages to André Gide, Albert Camus, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. The essay on Merleau-Ponty casts considerable light on the recent history of French philosophy, particularly with regard to dominant post-war political conceptions. Featured as well are lengthy studies of Sartre’s close friend Paul Nizan and of the young André Gorz that are no less revealing, as well as Sartre’s “Reply to Albert Camus,” which sealed the ideological and personal break between the two writers on its publication in 1952. Alongside these major writings are fascinating articles on Tintoretto and a number of contemporary artists, including Giacometti and Masson. Finally, Portraits concludes with two travelogue-style accounts of Sartre’s time in Italy.

This new translation by Chris Turner presents these essays in their complete form as originally intended by Sartre when he first published Situations IV in France and is thus essential reading for anyone interested in the artistic and intellectual history of the time.

686 pages | 5 x 8 | © 2009

The French List

Literature and Literary Criticism: Romance Languages

Philosophy: General Philosophy

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"This updated collection of essays by one of the best-known philosophers of the past century will appeal to readers familiar with Sartre but also those new to his writings. Readers who are discouraged by Sartre’s more technical works, e.g., Being and Nothingness, will find this much more accessible."

Library Journal

Table of Contents

Part One
   Portrait of a Man Unknown
   The Artist and His Conscience
   Of Rats and Men
Part Two
   Gide Alive
   Reply to Albert Camus
   Albert Camus
   Paul Nizan
Part Three
   The Captive of Venice
   Giacometti’s Paintings
   The Unprivileged Painter
   Fingers and Non-Fingers
   A Fine Display of Capuchins
   Venice from My Window

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