Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Existentialism and Human Emotions” as Want to Read:
Existentialism and Human Emotions
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Existentialism and Human Emotions

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  4,310 ratings  ·  171 reviews
Essay by Jean-Paul Sartre translated in English from French.
Paperback, Philosophical Library, 96 pages
Published December 1st 2000 by Citadel (first published 1957)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Existentialism and Human Emotions, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Shawn Brugmans I'm not sure I understand your question. Could you please elaborate so that I can try my best to help you out :)? What I can tell you is that Sartre…moreI'm not sure I understand your question. Could you please elaborate so that I can try my best to help you out :)? What I can tell you is that Sartre was a phenomenological existentialist. He has demonstrated themes of freedom, the absurd, meaninglessness and isolation in life, anguish and anxiety with possibilities, the existence of others (the Other and the Look), self-actualization, existence precedes essence, and many others. In his later years, he combined existentialism with Marxism. (less)
Shawn Brugmans I have never read this book by Sartre, but I was inspired to read philosophy and to study it more after reading his first novel, Nausea.…moreI have never read this book by Sartre, but I was inspired to read philosophy and to study it more after reading his first novel, Nausea. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,310 ratings  ·  171 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Existentialism and Human Emotions
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
The chapters "Existentialism" and "Freedom and Responsibility" are a warmly written, natural link between Kierkegaard and Watts.

Short "Desire to Be God" chapters are...meh.

Everything past that is irredeemable garbage. This is a 5-star book, with one small condition: Find the page with the chapter title "Existentialist Psychoanalysis", locate a pair of scissors, and cut it out, along with every page after it. Then you will have a book worth cherishing, and reading over and over again. Don't read
Michael Roop
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This one is a goodin. Jean-Paul Sartre is one of the greatest free thinkers in modern history. I didn't care much for philosophy until I became curious about it from watching the Big Lebowski. When he said it must be hard being a nihilist, i wondered what that was. Unsure I hit up the book store looking for answers. Though I didn't find dude related help I did find this. Sartre was top of the list at the book store.
This book is a quick enthralling read. For like minded individuals this book
May 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Seriously? Can I even start a review like that? Anyway, the overall theme of the book was good, and in a lot of respects it does do a good job of defining and analyzing human emotions through existentialist thought. However, let's be honest... The way this book is written, and the examples used throughout are trashy. I think that Sartre is very good, extremely good, but I also think that this collection of recyclables is really low quality. I picture Camus and Sartre having a conversation ...more
William Strasse
The short verdict: like panning for gold. I finally made myself read this front to back (I'd previously skipped around it a couple times.) Sartre is tiresome for several reasons to me. It is mostly that he just takes himself so seriously that you have to laugh at times, especially when he starts using terms like the being-in-itself-for-itself-of-itself. At one point, I thought "Jean-Paul, if you say 'a priori' one more time..." Of course, he used it about 100 more times after that. When I got to ...more
Eric Gold
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
An excellent primer by the father of Existentialist philosophy. Sartre's concept is at the same time simple and radical: man is fully responsible for what happens in the world. No excuses. No cover. No "out." If it happens: we make it happen. On the one hand, it's extraordinarily empowering. We are moral artisans, painting actions on the world's canvas. Yet the existentialist is overwhelmed by anguish (that everything I do essentially sets a standard, since none exist apriori) and despair (that ...more
Gary Patella
Jun 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Some parts I found very interesting, while other part were extremely convoluted. His take on existential psychoanalysis was intriguing, and seemed to revolve around introspection. The last chapter almost seemed like nonsense to me. Fortunately, the entire book is fairly short. This means that all parts, including the ones where Sartre's philosophy seems closer to the rhetoric of Socrates than existentialism, are quickly over.
Jon Nakapalau
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, philosophy
One of the more 'approachable' books by JPS. Foundation for existence precedes essence is presented and explained. - key to open other 'doors' to JPS complex philosophy. ...more
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: only if you don't have Wikipedia
This review is purposely in bad faith. I am two sheets to the wind, and that's my excuse, but zhawn paul says there are no excuses. When I was in college this philosophy seemed important, and it still does to a degree, but will it last? Doesn't it kind of just state the obvious? But it might overstate it. Aren't there extenuating circumstances and good reasons that we're all not ubermen? So we're all responsible for ourselves, fine, but what's the consequence? Did he believe we'd all change our ...more
Laçin T.
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This one took me almost a year to finish. I bought it second-hand at a time I was trying to catch every title on emotion for my research causes-a hopeless cause, because things do not work that way-. I started the first couple of pages, and then it was raining heavily one day, the book soaked wet in my bag and it took a few months to dry. Then I moved, and decided to take the book with me. Maybe a feeling of guilt. In my new home,one day I was spending time thinking about free people, and ...more
Jack Lindgren
Although I don't entirely agree with his philosophy the main section of this book (which is, I believe, the text of a speech he gave) illustrated Sartre's though in an easily digestible way. The later sections, which are excerpts from the massive Being and Nothingness are almost totally incomprehensible (probably in part because they're taken out of context, but probably also because they're from a massive philosophical tome instead of a speech). Um, but yes, I'm not really qualified to judge ...more
Ho Manh
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was a hard read. The thing I feel is the contradiction all the claims made by Satre about freedom of human actions with finding in sciences, typically, neurosciences. It is a good practice for the mind, trying to understand the logic, but still, too much contradiction with my view that freewill does not exist.
Kristen Rivera
Apr 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Philosophy Nutjobs like Me :)
Recommended to Kristen Rivera by: Rob Clow
This is another of my Master's degree books. I'd imagine it would only be enjoyable to a fairly limited demographic. And it gets boring, as these tend to, at about the halfway point.

4/2011: Notes/Reflections

Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotions

I could quote pages out of this book. Im just constantly like yes - YES!

I love the description of desperate quietism. I couldnt agree more, as that is often how I feel. I absolutely see myself as an isolated being the majority of the time. And thats
Daniel Polansky
So I was staying with my brother for a few days at the start of the month, and he has a doctorate and used to be a professor, and I was cribbing through a bunch of collegiate philosophical works, including this short book by Sartre, who was a writer I had a great fondness for back when I was like sixteen, and whom I haven't read since.

Alas for my teenage self. This is...not great, a sophomoric and weirdly unserious retread of basic Nietzschean thought. 'Anything you do becomes the thing you are
Duncan H!
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was written early in his carrier and i'm led to believe that Jean-Paul Sartre regretted printing some of the ideas espoused... However the chapters, "Existentialism" and "Freedom and Responsibility" were particularly legendary.
Cosmo Polke
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hmm wel Mr. Paul does certainly make me feel as though am I a bit of a truly free dude ill tell you that much. Thanks Jean-0
Bob Nichols
Sartre argues that we create our essence. In a way, this is not quite accurate as a description of Sartre's philosophy as outlined in this short book. Our essence is our freedom to choose who we will become (we are always in the process of 'becoming'). We are not determined by an in-born nature (passions; emotions). This for Sartre is a radical freedom. Taking responsibility for our lives, with no excuses, is not for the faint hearted. From this conceptualization, Sartre writes that when we ...more
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If Sartre wanted to endear himself to the masses, he did himself no favors with the cover to Existentialism and Human Emotions, with his pipe-puffing professoriality conveying enough know-it-allness to give most anyone not assigned to read it a hearty guffaw. Which is a shame really, as this 96-page essay serves as an excellent primer for anyone who thinks of existentialism as a ponderous, do-nothing philosophy (If all I am to do is exist, why do anything else?), defining the terms, fielding ...more
Bastard Travel
Jul 18, 2015 rated it liked it
I've never read Sartre before. I don't know if I'd say he's my kind of guy, but he's certainly an existentialist. Dry and not particularly engaging, but entirely an existentialist.

This book was divvied up into sections. Some were better than others.

This was good. The first thirty pages or so were Sartre explaining that he wears sunglasses for blocking out the haters, and the remaining twenty were a brief summary of what existentialism is.

Freedom and Responsibility:
A little
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
EXISTENTIALISM AND HUMAN EMOTIONS is a collection of essays by Jean-Paul Sartre, one of the most well-known intellectuals of the 20th century. They all share common ground regarding how existentialism affects the mind. The topics range from mental anguish to war to sexuality, with the toning swinging between practical to pretentious at the drop of a dime.

Exactly how much the reader likes HUMAN EMOTIONS will depend entirely on how much they like Sartre in general. Sartre didnt want
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Philosophy for a post-religious world. He gets deep into the idea of existence preceding essence, in that man is unique in that he exists before his purpose because he is writing the story of his purpose / essence / value each moment of his life. This is a departure from all religious thought, in which man's essence is assigned my God(s) and man is a tool for a purpose. That's convenient, but untrue. Plato's theory of forms, which is more of a though experiment than an explanation, discusses the ...more
Wolf Price
I had some serious problems with this book, which I feel the need to address. The first is that it is a collection of writings from two other books, "Existentialism" and "Being and Nothingness". The section taken from "Existentialism" is presented under the same name, and has some wonderful points to say about the subject, although it is far too brief, but since it is an except, what can one expect but for brevity?

The other sections, taken from "Being and Nothingness" are much harder to get
James Ee
This very short volume collects a series of essays and lectures Sartre wrote on separate occasions. They do not live up to the project of explaining human emotions through an existentialist outlook - and not a psychoanalytic or orthodox psychological one. The chapter on existentialism and psychoanalysis seems outmoded and awkward today - and in no ways shows how existentialism improves the psychoanalytic project. The best chapter seems to me the brief piece "The Hole" - for once in the book does ...more
Trent Zelazny
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love Sartre. My only complaint has nothing to do with the author or publisher but with the copy I got, used off Amazon, underlined and highlighted, with questions and notes scribbled in the margins. Should get a clean copy at some point. Of course, what do you expect when you buy the cheapest used copy available?
Elizabeth Merchant
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: our-library
This was pretty accessible in terms of existentialist philosophy. I definitely got lost a number of times, but it was not an exhausting or frustrating read. The first half convincingly addresses misconceptions about existentialism, and the second explains the difference between Jungian and existentialist psychoanalysis.
Feb 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: psych-philosophy
I found the first half of the book to be quite insightful on the topic of existentialism even though I don't completely agree with the notion, however his train of thought takes a nose dive after that. It reads as if he was trying to get reasoning to take him to a predetermined unreasonable conclusion, I wouldn't be surprised if he has confused himself in the process.
Laurène Poret
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The french title is way better. I really like Sartre's and I think this is is greatest work, along with a really important ideal for this whole period of time.
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Now, for the existentialist there is really no love other than one which manifests itself in a person's being in love. There is no genius other than one which is expressed in works of art; the genius of Proust is the sum of Proust's works; the genius of Racine is his series of tragedies. Outside of that, there is nothing. Why say that Racine could have written another tragedy, when he didn't write it? A man is involved in life, leaves his impress on it, and outside of that there is nothing. To ...more
Percival Buncab
Existentialism Is a Humanism, Sartres most famous lecture and the first essay in this anthology, is a classic defense of existentialism. He answered his major critics of his time, giving not only rebuttals but clarifications on semantical issues concerning his philosophy. His real-life example about his student facing an ethical dilemma is also a classic illustration to further understand the practicality of existentialism. His insight about seeking advice is what I got impressed the most in ...more
Mark Kingsley
Apr 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Sartre starts strong with "Existentialism," defending the philosophy against common critiques from Christians and commies with lucid, well-written prose. "Freedom and Responsibility" and "the Desire to Be God" are also interesting, though less engaging. Similarly, his thoughts on psychoanalysis are thought-provoking and I love the idea towards the end that literature can be viewed as a kind of tool, or at least a model, for psychological instruction.

However, there are two reasons this isn't
John Nash
His first two chapters are great introductory reading on existentialism followed by some succinct responses to some of its critics. The rest of the book, however, is a load of rubbish. Psychoanalysis is a fascinating field especially the Lacanian strain but Sartre, in typical fashion, quickly devolves his discussion into the obtuse and impenetrable language of the Sorbonne school. If I read the words being-which-is-not-what-it-is or the being in-itself and for-itself I will cry. These hyphens ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
  • The Ethics of Ambiguity
  • Twilight of the Idols/The Anti-Christ
  • Resistance, Rebellion and Death: Essays
  • Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit
  • Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America
  • Critique of Pure Reason
  • Essays and Aphorisms
  • Being and Time
  • Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy
  • Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre
  • Basic Writings: Ten Key Essays, plus the Introduction to Being and Time
  • The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening
  • The Myth of Sisyphus
  • On the Heights of Despair
  • German Ideology
  • Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Beyond Good and Evil
See similar books…
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre, normally known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre, was a French existentialist philosopher and pioneer, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist and critic. He was a leading figure in 20th century French philosophy.

He declined the award of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has

News & Interviews

Has it been a while since you've explored the mystery and thriller genre? Well, you're in luck because you are about to discover a lot of great...
70 likes · 38 comments
“Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.” 330 likes
“There is no human nature, since there is no god to conceive it.” 22 likes
More quotes…