13 - 19 April 2000
Issue No. 477
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
BOOKS: a monthly supplement of Al-Ahram Weekly
"On the one hand I'm extremely ambitious. But about what? When I think of glory, I imagine a ballroom with gentlemen in evening clothes and ladies in low-cut dresses all raising their glasses to me. It's pure Épinal, of course, but ever since childhood I've had that image. It doesn't tempt me, but glory does, because I want to be far above ordinary people, whom I scorn. But, more specifically, I have the ambition to create. I must construct, construct anything at all but construct. I've done some of everything, from philosophical systems (idiotic of course, I was 16) to symphonies. I wrote my first novel when I was 8. I cannot look at a blank sheet of paper without wanting to write something on it."
The young Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre in 1926
"What I like about my madness is that it has safeguarded me, from the very first, against the blandishments of "the élite": I have never seen myself as the happy owner of a "talent": my one concern was to save myself --nothing in my hands, nothing in my pockets-- through work and faith. Now at last my unadulterated choice did not set me up above anyone: with neither tools nor equipment, I gave my entire self to the task of saving my entire self. If I put away Salvation among the stage properties as impossible, what is left? A whole man, made of all men, worth all of them, and any one of them worth him."
1964: interviewed on the street upon turning down the Nobel Prize
1968: Addressing rebellious university student at the Sorbonne
1970: Assuming responsibility of the banned Maoist paper La cause du peuple
Jean-Paul Sartre in 1964
"I have always been in agreement with the anarchists, who were the only ones to have imagined man complete, constituted by social action and whose principle characteristic was liberty."
Jean-Paul Sartre in 1975