Magazine February 6, 2017, Issue

Dark Intellect

(Portrait via Wikimedia; cover via Amazon)
Existentialism and Excess: The Life and Times of Jean-Paul Sartre, by Gary Cox (Bloomsbury, 352 pp., $29.95)

Philosopher, novelist and short-story writer, man of the theater, left-wing political activist — Jean-Paul Sartre was the very model of the 20th-century public intellectual. By the time of his death in 1980, “the pope of existentialism” had published millions upon millions of words, won (and turned down) a Nobel prize, and become such a famed figure that 50,000 mourners followed his casket to witness his burial in Paris’s Montparnasse cemetery.

Yet what is Sartre’s legacy? Does anyone — should anyone — read him today? In his brisk, accessible biography, Gary Cox tries to make the case that Sartre’s best work provides

Brian C. Anderson — Mr. Anderson is editor of City Journal and author of Democratic Capitalism and Its Discontents, South Park Conservatives, and other books.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


AT THE CHAPEL OF THE PINK SISTERS The crosses on the convent roofs Gleam sharply as the sun comes up. — Wallace Stevens, “Botanist on Alp (No. 2)” The March wind blows past the ...
Politics & Policy


Against Big-Government Conservatism Samuel R. Staley argues for a permanent revolving-loan bank (“The Infrastructure Bank We Need,” December 31). Staley conditions his proposal on the bank’s being “properly designed and constrained,” ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ So there were no left-wing Puerto Rican transsexual terrorists in federal prison? ‐ Representative John Lewis (D., Ga.) announced that he would skip Donald Trump’s inauguration: “I don’t see this ...


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