Macquarie University
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Nausea and the early Sartre: a case study in freedom

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posted on 2022-03-28, 03:11 authored by Alison Beale
Sartre's Nausea is recognised as a classic modern 'novel of ideas', but has traditionally been viewed as an illustration of ideas fully explored only in Sartre's strictly philosophical works, such as Being and Nothingness. The relationship between Nausea and Sartre's other early works, however, has not been thoroughly examined, despite the importance of these texts for Sartre's intellectual development and the conceptualisation of his early phenomenological and existential theories. -- This thesis is a case study in the relationship between philosophy and literature that examines the intimate relationships between Nausea (1938) and four of Sartre's early works: The Transcendence of the Ego (1936), The Emotions: Outline of a Theory (1939), The Imagination (1936) and The Imaginary (1940). Each chapter juxtaposes the novel alongside the theories and concepts presented in one of these texts, analysing the intricate relationship between it and Nausea in terms of the content of both novel and theoretical text, showing how Sartre's literary work is related to concepts from his earlier philosophical texts. -- The thesis considers the significance of Nausea and novelistic fiction in general for the Sartrean notion of freedom, which is integral to understanding Nausea both as philosophical text and work of art. It is demonstrated that even in Sartre's earliest work, the use of novelistic form and style are crucial to the expression of essential phenomenological and existential concepts. It concludes that in order to fully comprehend the phenomenological and existential theories of the early Sartre, we need a deeper understanding of the relationship between Sartre's explicitly theoretical works and his fiction than has usually been assumed.


Table of Contents

Chapter I. The transcendence of the ego and Nausea: the self and its dissolution -- Chapter II. Feeling that way: Nausea and the emotions: outline of a theory -- Chapter III. The problem of the imagination -- Chapter IV. Irreality, art and Nausea: The (possible) freedom of art.


"A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy". Bibliography: pages 153-157

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis masters research


MPhil, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

Department of Philosophy

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Robert Sinnerbrink

Additional Supervisor 1

Jean-Philippe Deranty


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Alison Beale 2013.




1 online resource (157 pages) illustrations

Former Identifiers

mq:30964 2120071