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Georges Didi-Huberman Lectures at UCI Critical Theory at UCI Humanities Gateway 1030 Irvine, CA 92697-3375

Classics Book Discussion - Jean-Paul Sartre’s 'Nausea'

Join the Seward Park Library for a Classics Book Discussion on Jean-Paul Sartre's first novel Nausea (1938). A canonical work of existentialism philosophy and, according to Sartre himself, one of his best books.

Nausea features a French writer, Antoine Roquentin, who is horrified at his own existence, ruthlessly cataloging his every feeling and sensation, resulting in an overpowering feeling of nausea which "spread at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time, the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain."

Roquentin's efforts to come to terms with life give Sartre the opportunity to dramatize the tenets of his Existentialist creed.


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 exerted a far-reaching influence on our age."

In the years around the time of his death, however, existentialism was overtaken by structuralism, represented by Levi-Strauss and, one of Sartre's detractors, Michel Foucault.

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