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Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980) was a prominent French philosopher and an extraordinarily versatile and prolific writer. As a philosopher, he is noted for leading the philosophical movement called “existentialism,” which dominated European intellectual life in the 1940s and 1950s and exerted a worldwide influence on educational theory and practice in the subsequent two decades. His writings include two massive and systematic works of philosophy; several novels, plays, and screenplays; a book of short stories; an autobiography (covering only his childhood); several biographies of other writers; and scores of essays on art, literature, politics, and current events. In 1964, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature but declined it.

Sartre’s works attempt to describe from the “inside,” that is, from the standpoint of the individual’s subjective experience, the ...

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