At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others

At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others

by Sarah Bakewell

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Overview

Named one of the Ten Best Books of 2016 by the New York Times, a spirited account of a major intellectual movement of the twentieth century and the revolutionary thinkers who came to shape it, by the best-selling author of How to Live Sarah Bakewell.

Paris, 1933: three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called Phenomenology. "You see," he says, "if you are a phenomenologist you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!"
     It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement, inspiring Sartre to integrate Phenomenology into his own French, humanistic sensibility, thereby creating an entirely new philosophical approach inspired by themes of radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism. This movement would sweep through the jazz clubs and cafés of the Left Bank before making its way across the world as Existentialism.
    Featuring not only philosophers, but also playwrights, anthropologists, convicts, and revolutionaries, At the Existentialist Café follows the existentialists' story, from the first rebellious spark through the Second World War, to its role in postwar liberation movements such as anti-colonialism, feminism, and gay rights. Interweaving biography and philosophy, it is the epic account of passionate encounters—fights, love affairs, mentorships, rebellions, and long partnerships—and a vital investigation into what the existentialists have to offer us today, at a moment when we are once again confronting the major questions of freedom, global responsibility, and human authenticity in a fractious and technology-driven world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590518892
Publisher: Other Press, LLC
Publication date: 08/08/2017
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 77,129
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sarah Bakewell was a bookseller and a curator of early printed books at the Wellcome Library before publishing her highly acclaimed biographies The Smart, The English Dane, and the best-selling How to Live: A Life of Montaigne, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. In addition to writing, she now teaches in the Masters of Studies in Creative Writing at Kellogg College, University of Oxford.

Table of Contents

1 Sir, What a Horror, Existentialism! 1

2 To the Things Themselves 35

3 The Magician from Messkirch 50

4 The They, The Call 74

5 To Crunch Flowering Almonds 98

6 I Don't Want to Eat My Manuscripts 122

7 Occupation, Liberation 137

8 Devastation 175

9 Life Studies 208

10 The Dancing Philosopher 228

11 Croisés comme ça 242

12 The Eyes of the Least Favoured 271

13 Having Once Tasted Phenomenology 299

14 The Imponderable Bloom 317

Cast of Characters 329

Acknowledgements 337

Notes 339

Select Bibliography 403

List of Illustrations 423

Index 425

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