Talking with Sartre: Conversations and Debates

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This is an enchanting look into Sartre qua Sartre, not as anything or anyone else and thus does more to de-fetishize him than any other effort I can think of. While Gerassi regards his parents' friend with a genuine affection, and it is an affection that is returned, neither subject nor object pulls any punches. Gerassi is quick to point out that Sartre can be a genuine heel to ones who loved him most, he could also redeem his worst attributes with sincerity and commitment. Like Petzet, Gerassi presents a portrait of Sartre away from both the adulation and the vilification.

This is a man he knew, admired and challenged, and the dialogue, as with the Heidegger book, articulates the humanity, and genuine brilliance, away from the philosophically academic reputation, with clarity, compassion and creativity.


You are invited to eavesdrop and consider intimate conversations, often very humourous, and always engaging. If you have an avocation for either of these thinkers, I'd highly recommend the book. Their discussions of US foreign policy, the emergence of China and the decline of the Soviet sphere of influence are nothing short of prophetic.

For those who think philosophical ideas are only for philosophers, this book will change your mind. Gerassi has the type of relationship with Sartre that allows true "Conversations" and "Debates" to take place. There is give and take, history and humor.

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Talking with Sartre: Conversations and Debates [John Gerassi] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. What would it be like to be privy to the. Talking with Sartre. Conversations and Debates Authorized by Sartre to write his biography, Gerassi conducted a long series of interviews between and.

At times you can almost see the two of them facing off over one of those small, round French cafe tables challenging the ideas of the other. If you want to read two great minds passionately engaged in ideas as well as the reflections of two old friend, be sure to get this book. You won't regret it. He was truly a walking legend, fighting alongside with Che Guevarra. Sir I salute you. Gerassi's conversations with Sartre are witty, insightful, and deeply human.

It reveals the complexities of the French philosopher while also disclosing new aspects of his thinking. It's hard to book this book down.

Talking with Sartre: Conversations and Debates

Get it, you won't regret it! What Gerassi, through his perceptive and at times challenging dialogue with Sartre, allows us to see is not only the evolution of Sartre's philosophical ideas, oftentimes in relationship to historical events, but also Sartre's humanity -- his fears, his triumphs, his loves - the whole range of human emotion. Only a true confidante could have garnered such a compelling portrait of a man who has sometimes seemed as obscure as some of his prose. Kudos also for the clarity in which Sartre's ideas are expressed in this book.

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So when we decided to take over a bar and that led to confrontations, yes, each of us was responsible, but it was a common act. Of course, there were some individual disasters too. Yeah, after I took mescaline, I started seeing crabs around me all the time. They followed me in the streets, into class. I got used to them. But after I finished school, I began to think I was going crazy, so I went to see a shrink, a young guy then with whom I have been good friends ever since, Jacques Lacan.

We concluded that it was fear of being alone, fear of losing the camaraderie of the group. You know, my life changed radically from my being one of a group, which included peasants and workers, as well as bourgeois intellectuals, to it being just me and Castor.

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The crabs really began when my adolescence ended. At first, I avoided them by writing about them—in effect, by defining life as nausea—but then as soon as I tried to objectify it, the crabs appeared. And then they appeared whenever I walked somewhere. I hesitate to go on about Sartre's thoughts because they are so much more clearly and simply represented in this remarkable book.

Sartre rightly held Gerassi as a valid interlocutor, someone with whom he could debate, be frank, laugh, and ask important questions. Part of the vitality of this book comes from the intellectual vitality of Europe from the 30s through the 70s. We have nothing similar in the U. The crudeness of sound bite politics here is dreadful. This is why it's so important to be reminded that there are alternatives. In Europe one can have private conversations on this level, but European politics aren't much better than North American politics.

At best we all have begun to focus on one central issue: It's a valid and important issue. Why should a CEO make times more than a plant manager or assembly-line worker?


Why should five percent of Americans control over twenty-five percent of the wealth much more? At a point in time, around , Sartre accepted the fact, philosophically, that everything is politics, and he made his case incessantly on behalf of limitless freedom.

He considered himself a realist, but in fact he was more of an idealist. A more realistic critique comes from economists like Paul Krugman, who points out that in America, at least, the less the income inequality, the better the overall economy performs. It literally grows faster for obvious reasons: Jun 21, Zach rated it really liked it.

For me, it was a very casual introduction to Sartre's philosophy, which I enjoyed greatly. The two also talk quite a bit about their personal lives, which I also found very entertaining to read, as Sartre is quite a unique character. Dec 26, Erika rated it liked it. I feel like this book would appeal more to someone seeking clearer answers as to JP Sartre's early communist leanings, as there are frequent mentions of communism, Marx, et al. This is simply not my area of expertise, though it did pique some curiosity for further reading.

The book clarifies that Sartre later retracts his communists leanings as the underpinnings of his philosophy long before his death, correcting himself and seeing the "error in his ways. And it pains me to admit this. Not everything was evasive to me, as there were frequent mentions of WWII and America's role therein, though this was presented from the perspective of a wise, distant, resistant European. My problem with the interview is that a lot of the historical knowledge came up colloquially--as is to be expected in a one-on-one, don't get me wrong--but that made it feel as though the closeness of the author to his interviewee didn't serve so much to aid in the readers' closeness to Sartre as it did to exhibit the camaraderie between the two men; and in fact, the whole feel of the book was one of stepping into or interrupting a conversation meant to be private, having started long ago and with someone else.

With subjects like that, I will take whatever bits of information, incongruous or not, that I can get. My favorite part of the book had to be the farewell, where we are reminded of some of Sartre's written word before his passing at the age of seventy-five; it was this that I had hoped most of the book to be, a rehashing of his theory, the ins and outs and whys and hows he came to write what he wrote and not so much debates on his political or personal romantic leanings--but alas! Episodes of personal encounters. Hints and clues of the man and his works.

‘Talking with Sartre: Conversations and Debates’ by John Gerassi

A picture of a flawed hero. Or a heroic flaw? The following passage is taken from a "farewell" column written on the time of Sartre's death by the same author: Fail through we may, we try to face our situation and overcome our anxieties by leading authentic lives in committing ourselves to our projects and to our fellow human beings. Understanding that we can never escape our background, our heritage, our time a A summary. Understanding that we can never escape our background, our heritage, our time and space in a world that we have neither chosen nor accepted - in a phrase, our human condition - we, nevertheless, continuously try to give meaning to our absurdity through our action, the responsibility for which we reluctantly yet defiantly, painfully yet proudly, proclaim as our own.

The world may be a meaningless fact that you cannot control, your pain and your suffering may be the dictates of gods you can never know, your death may be no more rational than your life, yet you are what you do - and you know it. View all 5 comments. Jun 11, Daniel Viramontes rated it really liked it.

Talking with Sartre: Conversations and Debates by John Gerassi

A very interesting longitudinal interview with Sartre - the draw here is not the philosophy though there is definitely a bit of that , but more so the history involved. Getting a glimpse into not just Sartre's life, but into all of those around him through numerous anecdotes and dialogues not the mention the occasional yelling match , a back-and-forth tapestry of memories and ideas is gradually woven between two good friends who happen to be a part of many important twentieth-century events.

Dec 12, Mark rated it really liked it.

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View all 9 comments. Sartre rightly held Gerassi as a valid interlocutor, someone with whom he could debate, be frank, laugh, and ask important questions. A typical exchange might go something like Gerassi: Find your path to meaningful life. He was exceptionally informed and engaged.

This the book that introduced me to Sartre after being cast in a production of "No Exit". I think it would have illuminated the conversations more had I known more about Sartre's life and relationships. Sartre is an enigmatic figure and after reading these conversations I had more questions than answers, which lead me to Gerassi's biography. May 30, Salamandrine rated it it was amazing.

Oct 30, Leah rated it liked it. Well, why not -- there are more things like this http: Dec 09, J. Much more substantive than I expected. Better than some of the interviews with SdB, certainly better than those with Levy. Aug 28, John rated it it was amazing. Gurpratap rated it really liked it Dec 31, Marija Assereckova rated it really liked it Apr 01, Nightocelot rated it did not like it Dec 08, Alexandra rated it it was amazing Aug 01, Justin Wrench rated it it was amazing Jan 05,