Charlotte Reads Classics

Slowly, slowly, she sipped a sentence.

Tag: Philosophy


Nausea, Jean Paul Sartre

Ah existentialism, you tricky concept! As I understand it:

Existentialism = existence precedes essence = human beings have the freedom to do whatever they want in order to create their own essence or purpose = massive responsibility for your actions = anxiousness = EITHER denying the responisbility and in turn the freedom, OR becoming inspired by endless possibilities.

Nausea is pretty much a fictional version of Existentialism and Humanism, but without obvious theory. It takes the form of Antoine Roquentin’s journal, which he keeps methodically to detail his day to day observations. Roquentin doesn’t have a lot to do, therefore a lot of opportunity to sit around philosophising. Although this is technically an easy read, it is nowhere near a page turner! Pretty bleak, although interesting.

I’d recommend reading Existentialism and Humanism first to get the basics, as otherwise reading Nausea will probably feel like you have interrupted a story half way through the telling.

Existential Musings

“My memories are like the coins in the devil’s purse: when it was opened, nothing was found in it but dead leaves.”

“At least it’s a definite colour: I am glad I have red hair. It’s there in the mirror, it catches the eye, it shines out.”

“You can’t put your past in your pocket; you have to have a house in which to store it. I possess nothing but my body; a man on his own, with nothing but his body, can’t stop memories; they pass through him. I shouldn’t complain: all I have ever wanted was to be free.”
Jean Paul Sartre, Nausea