What was Sartre's philosophy

Jean-Paul Sartre 1905-1980

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  • June 21: Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre is born in Paris to a naval officer.

    He grew up in La Rochelle after his German-Alsatian mother, a cousin of Albert Schweitzer, remarried after the early death of his father.

  • After attending the Paris Lyceum Henri IV, Sartre studied psychology, philosophy and sociology at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

  • Agrégation (university teaching license) in philosophy.

    Beginning of friendship and cohabitation with Simone de Beauvoir

  • High school teacher in Le Havre.

  • Scholarship holder at the Institut Francais in Berlin, where he mainly deals with the philosophy of Nietzsche, Husserl and Heidegger.

  • Philosophy teacher in Le Havre and Paris.

  • Publication of the novel "Der Ekel", in which he deals with the freedom and loneliness of the individual.

  • Military service in a medical group, captured by the German Wehrmacht.

  • Publication of his first major philosophical work "Being and Nothing".

    In contrast to the determinism of the Christian worldview, he proclaims the total freedom and total responsibility of free people in the world, without God, without grace and without repentance.

    Since then, Sartre has been regarded as the main French exponent of atheistic existentialism.

  • Philosophy teacher in Paris.

  • Active in the French Resistance against the German occupation.

  • World premiere of the play "The Flies" in occupied Paris. The resistance against the German occupation forces expressed therein is cleverly veiled by the ancient garb.

  • Member of the "Comité National des Ecrivains" (C.N.E.), which is close to the Resistance.

  • Employee of the magazine "Combat" founded by Albert Camus.

  • Based in Paris as a freelance writer. Editor of the political-literary magazine "Les Temps Modernes".

  • Sartre's most successful play "The Dirty Hands" appears. In it he addresses the problem of politics and morals.

    The Vatican puts Sartre's works on the index because "the faithful should be spared dangerous doubts".

  • Sartre is very active politically and is entirely on the side of the communists.

    He initially accepted the "leading role of the Soviet Union" in world politics.

    After the brutal Soviet intervention in Hungary in 1956, he turned away from communism.

  • Publication of his second major philosophical work "Critique of Dialectical Reason".

  • German publication of the first part of his memoirs under the title "The Words".

    Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Sartre rejects the award for "personal and objective" reasons, while the Nobel Committee describes the decision in favor of Sartre as irrevocable.

  • German publication of the books "The intellectual in the revolution" and "The imaginary. Phenomenological psychology of the imagination".

  • Head of the left daily newspaper "Liberation".

  • Visit to Andreas Baader in the Stuttgart-Stammheim prison, to whom he admits that he "sincerely tried to put principles into practice".

  • On the occasion of his 70th birthday, the world press pays tribute to the life's work of the "idiosyncratic revolutionary" in numerous articles.

  • Awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

  • April 15: Jean-Paul Sartre dies in Paris.


(db / iz) © Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany
Status: 04/13/2016
Text: CC BY NC SA 4.0

Recommended citation:
Blume, Dorlis / Zündorf, Irmgard: Biography Jean-Paul Sartre, in: LeMO-Biografien, Lebendiges Museum Online, Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany,
URL: http://www.hdg.de/lemo/biografie/jean-paul-sartre.html
Last visited on 23.05.2021