The Decline and Fall of Existentialism



In his biography of Camus, Herbert Lottman tells an amusing story of how Camus, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir spent a drunken evening in various bistros on the Left Bank. As the dawn was breaking, Sartre and Camus walked back across a bridge over the Seine, and Sartre commented, ‘To think that in a few hours I’m going to talk about the writer’s responsibility [at the Sorbonne].’1


Existential System Telephone Booth Fellow Writer Rear Windscreen Cocktail Glass 
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  1. 1.
    Herbert R. Lottman, Albert Camus: A Biography (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979) p. 404.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Albert Camus, ‘The Night of Truth’, in Resistance, Rebellion and Death, tr. Justin O’Brien (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1961) p. 29.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Søren Kierkegaard, Repetition, tr. Howard and Edna Hong (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983) p. 200.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    André Malraux, Man’s Estate, tr. Alastair Macdonald (Harmondsworth, Middx: Penguin, 1961) p. 5.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Herbert R. Lottman, The Left Bank: Writers, Artists, and Politics from the Popular Front to the Cold War (London: Heinemann, 1982) p. 99.Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    See Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology, tr. Hazel E. Barnes (London: Methuen, 1969).Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘La République du silence’, in Situations, III (Paris: Gallimard, 1949) p. 11. First published in Lettres françaises, 1944.Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, tr. Justin O’Brien (Harmondsworth, Middx: Penguin, 1975) p. 19.Google Scholar
  9. 16.
    Jean-Paul Sartre, Words, tr. Irene Clephane (Harmondsworth, Middx: Penguin, 1967) p. 157.Google Scholar
  10. 17.
    See Albert Camus, The Rebel, tr. Anthony Bower (Harmondsworth, Middx: Penguin, 1971).Google Scholar

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© Ceri Crossley and Ian Small 1988

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