This is a sample of our (approximately) 3 page long Sartre notes, which we sell as part of the French Literary Theory Notes collection, a Upper 2.1 package written at Oxford University in 2007 that contains (approximately) 23 pages of notes across 9 different documents.
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Asks what is literature, as a contribution to a debate, sets out to answer his critics by saying what they're attacking him for - 'puisque les critiques me condamnent au nom de la littérature, sans jamais dire qu'ils entendent par là, la meilleure réponse à leur faire, c'est d'examiner l'art d'écrire, sans préjugés.' (pg12) 'Littérature' before the 18 th century meant 'well read', so the modern usage of the word = a relatively recent coinage inherent problem with definition Focus not so much on literature as on prose (as opposed to poetry)
Sartre defines lit. by defining prose, and does this in polemical opposition to lit. defined as poetry Context 1st published as a series of articles/collected 'essais' called 'situations' in 'le temps moderne' (1947) 'essai' rather than book suggests he was trying an idea out 42 years old, had founded 'le temps moderne' 2 years earlier, already an established writer/philosopher/critic/dramatist The way S. presents arguments 1, the text; 2, the author; 3, the reader; 4, the world in which the reading takes place all connected
Strategies used to define lit. o Divided into prose (alongside lit.) and poetry (alongside fine arts and music) o An opposition, treated as 'deux univers incommunicables', because of the function of language that distinguishes them o Poetry - words = objects, 'l'attitude poétique qui considère les mots commes des choses et non commes des signes' (pg19) o Prose - words = signs/actions/utilitarian, 'la prose est utilitaire pas essence' (pg25) but this is not a bad thing, though this goes against typical views, S. associates it with speech, 'l'écrivain est un parleur: il désigne, démontre, ordonne, refuse, interpelle, supplie, insulte, persuade, insinue' (pg25) prose should be thought of as a kind of speech, and thus as an action o The way language acts in prose is by naming, 'parler c'est agir: toute chose qu'on nomme n'est déjà plus tout à fait la même, elle a perdu son innocence' (pg27) transforms the object by giving it a name and thus a meaning language becomes substitute for the object and so becomes an object in itself, '[les poètes] ne songent pas à nommer le monde, et par le fait, ils ne nomment rien du tout, car la nomination implique un perpetual sacrifice du nom à l'objet nommé' (pg18) o Object in poetry = physical, 'sa sonorité, sa longueur, ses désinences masculines ou féminines, son aspect visuel lui composent un visage de
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