Nausea by Jean-Paul SartreNausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressionistic, diary form he ruthlessly catalogues his every feeling and sensation about the world and people around him.
His thoughts culminate in a pervasive, overpowering feeling of nausea which spread at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time, the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain.
Roquentins efforts to try and come to terms with his life, his philosophical and psychological struggles, give Sartre the opportunity to dramatize the tenets of his Existentialist creed.
The introduction for this edition of Nausea by Hayden Carruth gives background on Sartres life and major works, a summary of the principal themes of Existentialist philosophy, and a critical analysis of the novel itself.
Jean-Paul Sartre: more relevant now than ever
Nausea is written in the form of a diary that narrates the recurring feelings of revulsion that overcome Roquentin, a young historian, as he comes to realize the banality and emptiness of existence. As the attacks of nausea occur more frequently, Roquentin abandons his research and then finds and loses his few friends. In an indifferent world, without work, love, or friendship to sustain him, he must discover value and meaning within himself. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.
Wall-to-wall media? Check and in which scarcely anyone has the couilles , as they say in France, to politely tell judges where they can put their prize, how lovely to recall what happened on 22 October , when Jean-Paul Sartre turned down the Nobel prize for literature. A writer who adopts political, social or literary positions must act only within the means that are his own — that is, the written word. Throughout his life, Sartre agonised about the purpose of literature. But the story is odder than that.
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Antoine Roquentin, a historian living in Bouville, France, begins a diary to help him explain the strange and sickening sensations that have been bothering him for the previous few days. He is not sure what exactly is wrong with him, often doubting if there is any need to keep a diary at all.