Sunday, June 21, 2009
JEAN PAUL SARTRE b. JUNE 21ST 1905
"Every age has its own poetry; in every age the circumstances of history choose a nation, a race, a class to take up the torch by creating situations that can be expressed or transcended only through poetry."
sartre has pretty much fallen out of favor w/the academy. he was all the rage at new college in the late 70s but no one even bothered to mention him when i was at uva in the early 90s. political engagement was NOT what was on the minds of grad students at uva, kissing ass & making the grade was. nothing wrong w/that, tho the faint odor of bad faith was surely not imagined.
his novels aren't discussed at all anymore. nausea used to be on high school reading lists as was his play no exit. his trilogy(the roads to freedom)i remember very well. philip & i used to spend hours talking about it & sartre himself.
doug bergren taught being & nothingness at new college & fay hansen taught saint genet. there is, i suppose, some irony to him being swallowed by history while his lifelong companion has achieved some notoriety among feminists. the time for his kind of poetry has passed but poets have a way of coming back at odd moments.