Quiet Moments in a War by Jean-Paul Sartre
The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone De Beauvoir 1940-1963

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A collection of letters by the author of Being and Nothingness depicts Sartre as a soldier, a prisoner of the Germans, and a man of Resistance and charts his path to fame with the publication of his major works.
 

About Jean-Paul Sartre

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Sartre is the dominant figure in post-war French intellectual life. A graduate of the prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure with an agregation in philosophy, Sartre has been a major figure on the literary and philosophical scenes since the late 1930s. Widely known as an atheistic proponent of existentialism, he emphasized the priority of existence over preconceived essences and the importance of human freedom. In his first and best novel, Nausea (1938), Sartre contrasted the fluidity of human consciousness with the apparent solidity of external reality and satirized the hypocrisies and pretensions of bourgeois idealism. Sartre's theater is also highly ideological, emphasizing the importance of personal freedom and the commitment of the individual to social and political goals. His first play, The Flies (1943), was produced during the German occupation, despite its underlying message of defiance. One of his most popular plays is the one-act No Exit (1944), in which the traditional theological concept of hell is redefined in existentialist terms. In Red Gloves (Les Mains Sales) (1948), Sartre examines the pragmatic implications of the individual involved in political action through the mechanism of the Communist party and a changing historical situation. His highly readable autobiography, The Words (1964), tells of his childhood in an idealistic bourgeois Protestant family and of his subsequent rejection of his upbringing. Sartre has also made significant contributions to literary criticism in his 10-volume Situations (1947--72) and in works on Baudelaire, Genet, and Flaubert. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and refused it, saying that he always declined official honors. Simone de Beauvoir, 1908 - 1986 Simone de Beauvoir was born January 9, 1908 in Paris, France to a respected bourgeois family. Her father was a lawyer, her mother a housewife, and together they raised two daughters to be intelligent, inquisitive individuals. de Beauvoir attended the elementary school Cours Desir in 1913, then L'Institute Sainte Nary under the tutelage of Robert Garric, followed by the Institute Catholique in Paris, before finally attending the Sorbonne, where she graduated from in 1929. It was there that she met the man who would become her life long friend and companion, John Paul Sartre, who contributed to her philosophy of life. She is perhaps best know for her novel entitled "The Second Sex", which describes the ideal that women are an indescribable "other", something "made, not born", and a declaration of feminine independence. After graduating from the Sorbonne, de Beauvoir went on to teach Latin at Lycee Victor Duruy, philosophy at a school in Marseilles, and a few other teaching positions before coming to teach at the Sorbonne. During the course of her twelve years of teaching, from 1931 to 1943, de Beauvoir developed the basis for her philosophical thought. She used her formal philosophy background to also comment on feminism and existentialism. Her personal philosophy was that freedom of choice is man's utmost gift of value. Acts of goodness make one more free, acts of evil decrease that selfsame freedom. In 1945, de Beauvoir and Sartre founded and edited Le Temps Modernes, a monthly review of philosophical thought and trends. In 1943, with the money she had earned from teaching, de Beauvoir turned her full attention to writing, producing first "L'Envitee", then "Pyrrhus et Cineas" in 1944. In 1948, she wrote perhaps her most famous philosophical work, "The Ethics of Ambiguity". "The Second Sex", regarded by many as the seminal work in the field of feminism, is her most famous work. Other works include "The Coming of Age", which addresses society's condemnation of old age, the award winning novel "The Mandarins", "A Very Easy Death", about the death of her mother and a four part biography. In "The Woman Destroyed", a collection of two long stories and one short novel, de Beauvoir discusses middle age. One of her last novels was in the form of a diary recording; it told of the slow death of her life-long compatriot, Jean Paul Sartre. On April 14, 1986, Simone de Beauvoir, one of the mothers of feminism, passed away in her home in Paris.
 
Published November 1, 1993 by Scribner. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, War. Non-fiction

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A sequel to Witness to My Life (1992), which collected Sartre's letters to Simone de Beauvoir from 1926 to 1939.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Quiet Moments in a War: The L...
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