In Nausea, the 1938 novel that made Sartre famous, the protagonist is a historian who abandons the biography he is writing because he comes to believe that all histories are fictional, escapist, and useless. He sought the one and only truth of history; a truth that would revolutionize the world. By the time Sartre published his most mature works, he claimed to have written a biography that was perfectly true. This book examines how and why Sartre's position on the possibility and worth of historical knowledge changed so dramatically. In addition, it illuminates Sartre's unique contribution to the grand debate between Marxist and anarchist revolutionaries-a debate that continues today.
“Hulliung presents a particularly enlightening account of Sartre’s concern with problems afflicting groups that lack a history. The author draws his conclusions with care and subtlety. This book, which is refreshingly free of technical vocabulary, is accessible to a broad audience. Summing Up: Recommended.” —CHOICE
1 To Historicize or Not to Historicize 2 From Time to History 3 The Historical Search for the Unhistorical 4 Human History and the Human Condition 5 History and Revolution 6 History and a Note on Ethics