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Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre Biography
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Jean-Paul Sartre Biography

The distinguished writer Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre, known for the reduction of his name as Jean-Paul Sartre, was born in Paris, France, on June 21, 1905, and died in Paris, France, on April 15 of the year 1980. In addition to his literary work is recognized in other aspects as a philosopher, playwright, biographer, critic and political activist. Although he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964, he rejected it because of the self-imposed rule that consisted in refusing to receive any type of recognition, distinction or award for any of his works.

His parents were the naval officer Jean Baptista Sartre and Anne Marie Schweitzer, who was a relative of the philosopher, Albert Schweitzer. When he was barely 15 months old, his father died because of an illness obtained in one of his trips around Asia. After this, his mother had to receive the help of his parents in the upbringing of the little Jean-Paul Sartre. His grandparents saw it essential to train the child to enter into the notions of classical literature and mathematics.

His school studies began in 1915 when he was enrolled at the Liceo Henri IV. In 1917, his mother remarried, this time she married Joseph Mancy, director of the Delaunay Belleville car factory, forcing the family to move to the city of Rochelle. Jean-Paul continues his studies in this new place until 1920 when he returned to Paris, studying again at the Liceo Henri IV. This year he was interested in philosophy after reading several texts on the subject, especially Essay on the immediate data of Henri Bergson’s consciousness. In 1924, he entered the Normal Superior School, where he met important figures such as Simone de Beauvoir, Raymond Aron, Paul Nizan and Maurice Merleau Ponty.

“Man is condemned to be free.” Jean-Paul Sartre

In 1929, when finishing his studies on philosophy, Jean-Paul Sartre obtained the first place in a contest to measure the knowledge and grant the capacity to be a professor in high schools, the second place was assigned to Simone de Beauvoir. The teacher position would be delayed to serve as a soldier in the French army until the year 1931. The role of teacher would be postponed again after receiving a scholarship in 1933 to deepen his philosophical studies at the French Institute in Berlin, in this place he would know the thoughts of Husserl and Heidegger.

In 1936, Europe is devastated by Nazism and fascism, so in that year Sartre moved to multiple institutions where he educated many children whose parents lead the indiscriminate agricultural exploitation. The concern for this context would make the following year begin to shape his career as a philosopher and writer. In 1938, he published the first edition of Nausea, a work that shows the existentialist thought of the author. This novel generated some recognition towards him as a figure of the existential philosophical current. The following year he published The Wall and began to write the first manuscripts of La Edad de la razón and Being and Nothingness.

In 1939, during the Second World War, he worked as a meteorologist for the French army. The following year he would be taken as a prisoner by the German forces. In 1941, he managed to escape from his captors and returned to Paris, posing as a simple civilian, enrolling as a teacher at the Liceo Pasteur. In 1943, he published The Flies and Being and Nothingness, for this year he also collaborated in the National Committee of Writers as editor in the Nazi resistance newspapers Combat and Letters françaises.

For the year of 1945, he definitively abandoned his work as a teacher to dedicate himself completely to writing. That same year he would create the left-wing journal Les Temps Modernes in the company of Simone de Beauvoir, Raymond Aron, and Maurice Merleau Ponty, thus initiating his more direct approaches to politics. In 1964, he was declared the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, but he rejected it. Towards the year of 1968, he participated actively in the student revolt in May, which was positioned against the consumer society and promulgated the values ​​of the left party.

In 1975, his first health problems began: his eyesight began to be lacking. This separated him from any activity he did, his last writings being a critique of Flaubert entitled El idiota de la Familia (1972), and the final part of his Situation (1976).

On April 15, 1980, Jean-Paul Sartre died in the hospital Broussais due to pulmonary edema. Five days later he would be buried, the procession of his body was followed by a huge crowd to the cemetery of Montparnasse, where his remains reside to this day.

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