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Apostles of Sartre Existentialism in America, 1945-1963

by Ann Fulton

  • ISBN: 9780810112902
  • ISBN10: 0810112906

Apostles of Sartre Existentialism in America, 1945-1963

by Ann Fulton

  • List Price: $33.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Northwestern Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9780810112902
  • ISBN10: 0810112906
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Description: Apostles of Sartre is a broad look at the impact on American philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialism -- from its introduction to this country in 1945 through 1963, when Sartre merged existentialism with Marxism.

Sartre's philosophy was rejected by many Americans initially because it went against the grain of so many of the reigning political, social, and economic characteristics of the culture. It touted a system of belief that was antireligion, antibourgeois morality, and anticapitalism and thus met stiff resistance in a postwar nation newly celebrating its success in World War II -- a success thought to be derived from precisely those values Sartre challenged. Eventually, though, Sartre found apostles in the American philosophical community. Fulton here explains this evolution -- from disdain and dismissal to incorporation and acceptance, from intellectual fad to an integral part of the Western philosophical canon.

Fulton traces existentialism's American history in stages -- from its slow initial reception just after World War II; to its acceptance among rebellious young students; to its denunciation by traditional American scholars who thought it inadequately answered philosophy's traditional questions; to its gradual acceptance and understanding by those same intellectuals. Fulton makes use of a wide variety of sources: articles in philosophical journals, records of philosophy conferences, unpublished lectures, and private conversations with those caught up in the Sartrean movement in the decades after World War II.

Fulton shows how Sartre's works forced intellectuals and writers across America to reevaluate their basic beliefs and their methodology and demonstrateshow much the acceptance of new ideas like Sartre's depends on the cultural circumstances of the time -- circumstances like language and political context.

A clear, concise, and jargon-free examination of an important chapter in the history of ideas, this book will appeal to both the Sartre specialist and the general reader.

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