Jean-Paul Sartre is a well-known figure in the field of philosophy and literature, To be considered as one of the fathers of contemporary existentialism. Philosopher, writer and political activist, he considers that the human being is a free being and that as such he must be responsible for his own destiny, even if external conditions may exist.
In addition, Sartre is also known for his political activism, having a complex relationship with communism. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but decided to decline the prize due to his personal beliefs. To understand your worldview, it can be helpful to understand your life, which is why in this article we will review a short biography of Jean-Paul Sartre, Which marked the philosophy of the twentieth century.
Brief biography of Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was born on June 21, 1905 in Paris, France, being the son of a naval officer named Jean Baptiste Sartre and Anne Marie Schweitzer.
However, a few months after his birth, his father died of an illness contracted during his travels. His mother, with the help of Jean-Paul’s maternal grandparents, would educate him in a stimulating and intellectual environment. His grandfather also introduced him to an interest in the arts.
Academic training of this philosopher
In 1915, at the age of ten, Sartre enters the Lycée Henri IV in Paris to begin his studies. However, his mother will meet and contract a second marriage with Joseph Mancy, which led the young Sartre to settle in La Rochelle. He would be at the Lycée of this locality where he would continue his studies until 1920, in which he would return to Paris and he would finish his education in his original institute.
After completing his secondary studies, he entered the École Normale Supérieure in Paris in 1924 to continue his university studies. During these studies, he will meet different people who will become great authors in the future, among which the one who will become his main sentimental partner (they will establish throughout his life an open relationship controversial for the time), Simone de Beauvoir. He obtained his doctorate in philosophy in 1929, being the first in his class (followed by De Beauvoir).
Postdoctoral life and early publications of Sartre
After obtaining his doctorate, he began to work in various institutes as a professor of philosophy, such as the Lycée de Havre. Subsequently, in 1933, he obtained a scholarship which allowed him to travel to Germany and training in philosophy from various authors such as Edmund Husserl (Exploring Phenomenology) at the French Institute in Berlin.
After that, he returned to France, again teaching in high schools like the Pasteur. At this point, he would begin to work out his notion that existence precedes essence, as we have to be in order to be able to choose. This idea will be exposed in his first novel, published in 1938 and entitled Nausea. In 1939 he began to write other of his great works, notably Being and Nothingness.
War and post-war
The onset of WWII would lead to Sartre’s draft, Participating in the war and being captured by the Germans in 1940. In 1941, he managed to escape posing as a civilian, and supported and participated in the French resistance.
In 1943, he published his most important and best known philosophical work, Being and Nothing, in which he offered his version of existentialist philosophy. This work, strongly influenced by the existentialism of Heidegger (considered at the time as a great authority in this philosophical current) and other authors like Husserl or Kierkegaard, would lead to great popularity.
Over time, in 1945 decided to give up teaching and devote himself fully to literary and philosophical creation as a writer. He co-founded with his partner Simone de Beauvoir and other authors such as Raymond Aron the magazine Les temps Modernes, of great influence at the time.
His political activism
As mentioned above, Sartre is also known for his political activism, maintaining an active participation in this field for a long time. This activism will be particularly active after 1947. On the basis of socialist ideas, the author criticized the Cold War and the performance of the American and Soviet blocs.
Despite the existence of differences, he has an approach to communist ideas, traveling several times to Moscow and including different associations, he would also support the Cuban revolution and the Chinese cultural revolution.
In 1964, the name of Sartre was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. However, the author decided to reject the award, considering that the link between author and reader did not require intermediaries.
He also took an active part in the May revolt of 68 i openly condemn the Vietnam War and the war crimes committed against it, Collaboration in the formation of the Stockholm International Court.
Also, during this period, the author continues to publish several works. He co-founded the agency “Liberation” with Maurice Clavel in 1973, which would later become a newspaper of which he was the director.
The last years and death
However, over the years, Sartre’s health would begin to decline, losing his sight and gradually having to withdraw from creative writing.
In May 1980, Jean-Paul Sartre was admitted to the Broussais hospital in Paris. due to pulmonary edema and hypertensive crisis. On April 15, 1980, this edema was complicated by a heart attack which ended up causing her death, at nine o’clock in the evening, in the company of Simone De Beauvoir and her adopted daughter Arlette El Kaim.
The legacy of this author is vast and brings philosophy closer to the problems between the relation of self and society. the same his ideas influenced disciplines such as psychology, Contribute to the reflection and the creation of the humanist current.