Sartre’s Phenomenology of History: Community, Agency and Comprehension

Author's Department

English & Comparative Literature Department

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Analecta Husserliana

Publication Date




The paper argues that Sartre’s work as both a literary critic and social philosopher is deeply indebted to his early commitment to phenomenology. The first part of the paper examines the nature of reading and writing in the account of literary meaning that is presented in the transitional text, Qu’est-ce que la littérature? While acknowledging the political turn that occurs in Sartre’s work, we then discuss how the theme of history emerges in the later essay, Questions de méthode, as one that opens up a “double reading” of human motivation. Our conclusion maintains that the Marxist phase of Sartre’s work is based on the hermeneutical notion of comprehension, which provides an anthropological grounding for his existential philosophy.

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