Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) dominated the cultural and literary life of post-war France. He believed from an early age that he had a mission to be a writer and proceeded to realise this as a novelist, philosopher, screenwriter, playwright, literary and art critic, biographer, essayist, polemicist and journalist. Although before the Second World War Sartre showed little inclination to become involved in politics, from 1945 he established himself as the very personification of intellectual commitment, taking public positions on national and international political issues from the Liberation until very shortly before his death.
David Drake, Principal Lecturer in French at Middlesex University, London, is President of the United Kingdom Society for Sartrean Studies (UKSSS) and a member of the Editorial Board of Sartre Studies International and of Modern and Contemporary France. He has written two books on French intellectuals and politics, and his articles on French intellectuals, especially Sartre, have appeared in the USA and France, and in the UK in publications that include Sartre Studies International, the Journal of European Studies, the Times Education Supplement, and Modern and Contemporary France.
‘It helps the reader understand where, under particular historical and political pressures, intellectuals in a certain tradition went wrong, or got things right. It offers a measured and detailed summary of the ways in which Sartre, his allies, their opponents and some of their successors intervened in political debates, from the purge of collaborators after liberation up to the attempted purge of sans papiers in the 1990s.’ - Times Literary Supplement