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Talking with Sartre: Conversations and Debates

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  50 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
What would it be like to be privy to the mind of one of the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers? John Gerassi had just this opportunity; as a child, his mother and father were very close friends with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and the couple became for him like surrogate parents. Authorized by Sartre to write his biography, Gerassi conducted a long series o ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Yale University Press (first published 2009)
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Jay Green
Feb 17, 2016 Jay Green rated it it was amazing
My original review at the Irish Left Review:

Central to Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy of existentialism is the concept of Bad Faith, the idea that humans avoid taking responsibility for their actions by pretending they have no choice in how they behave. This can manifest itself in a range of behaviours, such as making excuses for misdemeanours by blaming their genes, their upbringing, their parents, their gender, by finding all sorts of extenuating circums
Oct 06, 2014 Robert rated it it was amazing
I just finished the most enjoyable book I've read in some time. Political scientist John Gerassi's father, Fernando, was one of Jean-Paul Sartre's closest friends, and Gerassi grew up as a member of what Simone de Beauvoir referred to as "the family."

At the end of Sartre's life, Gerassi, by then an American, had an extended series of conversations with Sartre that form the body of this book. It's a wonderful reflection on the intellectual, cultural, and historical issues that were central to the
Dec 26, 2015 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."

Though I enjoyed the interview as a w
Aug 23, 2010 Irwan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished, 2010
A summary. Episodes of personal encounters. Hints and clues of the man and his works. 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
Daniel Viramontes
Jun 11, 2014 Daniel Viramontes rated it really liked it
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, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 30, 2013 Leah rated it liked it
Well, why not -- there are more things like this
Dec 09, 2009 J. added it
Much more substantive than I expected. Better than some of the interviews with SdB, certainly better than those with Levy.
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always finding home within him
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صدر حديثا - كتب و...: هكذا تكلم سارتر 1 59 Dec 26, 2013 03:36PM  
John Gerassi is professor of political science at Queens College, City University of New York, and is the author ofJean-Paul Sartre: HatedConscience of His Century."
More about John Gerassi...

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