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"What is Literature?" and Other Essays

"What is Literature?" and Other Essays

Jean-Paul Sartre

ISBN 9780674950849

Publication date: 10/15/1988

"What is Literature?" remains the most significant critical landmark of French literature since World War II. Neither abstract nor abstruse, it is a brilliant, provocative performance by a writer more inspired than cautious.

"What is Literature?" challenges anyone who writes as if literature could be extricated from history or society. But Sartre does more than indict. He offers a definitive statement about the phenomenology of reading, and he goes on to provide a dashing example of how to write a history of literature that takes ideology and institutions into account.

This new edition of "What is Literature?" also collects three other crucial essays of Sartre's for the first time in a volume of his. The essays presenting Sartre's monthly, Les Temps modernes, and on the peculiarly French manner of nationalizing literature do much to create a context for Sartre's treatise. "Black Orpheus" has been for many years a key text for the study of black and third-world literatures.

Authors

  • Jean-Paul Sartre, the great figure of French literary and philosophical culture at mid-century, was the author of numerous works.
  • Steven Ungar is Professor of French and Chair of Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa and the author of Roland Barthes: The Professor of Desire.

Book Details

  • 368 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches
  • Harvard University Press
  • Introduction by Steven Ungar

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