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The Story I Tell Myself a Venture in Existentialist Autobiography

by Hazel E. Barnes

  • ISBN: 9780226037325
  • ISBN10: 0226037320

The Story I Tell Myself a Venture in Existentialist Autobiography

by Hazel E. Barnes

  • List Price: $32.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 07/01/1997
  • ISBN: 9780226037325
  • ISBN10: 0226037320
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Description: Best known as the writer who introduced French Existentialism to Americans through her translation of Sartre's Being and Nothingness, Hazel E. Barnes has written an autobiography that is both the story of a successful professional woman and a profound reflection on the meaning of an unfolding philosophical conviction. With humor and charm she brings philosophy to life in the telling of her story. Ultimately it is clear that Barnes played an active role in initiating, not merely reacting to, one of the main currents in American intellectual life in this century.

The Story I Tell Myself is an engrossing account of one woman's psychological liberation from a false sense of what she wanted to be, and the gradual development of a personal philosophy she was willing to live by. Barnes came of age in the era between Virginia Woolf and Betty Friedan, when women were beginning to break away from traditional patterns but primarily as exceptions and only within limits. She recounts how she came to undertake the translation of Sartre, and the subsequent battles with publishers and some hostile critics. Taking to heart Sartre's belief that an individual is both the product and the unique expression of his or her period, Barnes describes how she made Existentialism her own -- introducing it in writing, in speaking, and in a television series.

Overall, the account of her struggle for self-understanding shows a person so authentic in the Sartrean sense that readers cannot help but admire her. Barnes embraced a philosophy that the world initially thought scandalous and became intimately involved with a movement that left an indelible mark on a changing century. Her story transcends the personaldetails of her life and stands as an important and rare document in the intellectual history of our times.

"I admire this book and read it with unflagging interest. We have few enough of such accounts, and this one is therefore particularly valuable as well as readable and engrossing". -- Carolyn Heilbrun, Author of The Last Gift Before Time: Life Beyond Sixty

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