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Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

Nausea (1938)

by Jean-Paul Sartre

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,04761707 (3.77)157
Nausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressionistic, diary form he ruthlessly catalogs his every feeling and sensation. His thoughts culminate in a pervasive, overpowering feeling of nausea which "spreads at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time -- the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain."Winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature (though he declined to accept it), Jean-Paul Sartre -- philosopher, critic, novelist, and dramatist -- holds a position of singular eminence in the world of French letters. La Nausee, his first and best novel, is a landmark in Existential fiction and a key work of the twentieth century.… (more)
  1. 40
    Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (trillkhidr)
    trillkhidr: Perhaps an obvious connection, but one that I nevertheless could not fail to return to again and again throughout my reading of Nausea. Is Antoine a man underground?
  2. 30
    The Stranger by Albert Camus (roby72)
  3. 20
    The Words by Jean-Paul Sartre (John_Vaughan, John_Vaughan)
  4. 10
    The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley (kaityjames)
    kaityjames: Huxley views art as a pale imitation of objects as they ARE; Sartre finds existence disgusting and obscene, and art as a beautiful form above and beyond reality. Definitely compatible if you can dig Sartre's dark, existential language.
  5. 10
    Homo Faber by Max Frisch (thecoroner)
  6. 10
    The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke (roby72)
  7. 10
    The Moviegoer by Walker Percy (erezv)
  8. 00
    The Time of Indifference by Alberto Moravia (JuliaMaria)
  9. 00
    Les Mains Sales de Jean-Paul Sartre by Marc Buffat (John_Vaughan)
  10. 00
    Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline (thecoroner)
  11. 00
    The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector (Mouseear)
  12. 00
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (SamuelW)
    SamuelW: Although The Remains of the Day has none of Nausea's philosophical depth, there are close similarities in theme, plot and technique which make the two books a remarkable pair.
  13. 01
    Dead Certainties : Unwarranted Speculations by Simon Schama (Sea92)
    Sea92: Nausea is more of a philosophical work, but both authors explore chasm between the reality of the past and history as it is written. These are issues that historians must deal with.

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» See also 157 mentions

English (44)  Italian (4)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  All languages (61)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
"It's quite an undertaking to start loving somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment right at the start where you have to jump across an abyss: if you think about it you don't do it."

First published in 1938 Nausea is Jean-Paul Sartre’s first novel and is an exploration of his early thoughts on existentialism through the existence of one man Antoine Roquentin. Roquentin is shortly to turn thirty and is writing a biography of the Marquis de Rollebon in the fictional French town of Bouville.

The novel is written as Roquentin’s diary and it soon becomes apparent that Roquentin leads an empty existence, spending his days in the local library doing research for a book that he will never write, and his evenings in cafes and restaurants with other equally lonely individuals. Roquentin has an allowance which means that he doesn't need to work but according to Sartre’s form of existentialism this freedom is a heavy burden. Roquentin is aware of his freedom but unsure what to do with it and is overwhelmed by the possibilities. Roquentin starts the diary so as to be able to understand and document the 'nausea' (listlessness) that he feels in his life. This process of self-reflection seems initially self-defeating even overwhelming but eventually provides him with the knowledge that he seeks until ultimately, the diary proves a record of his rebirth as a novelist. Sartre paints the picture of a rather sad world in which loneliness pervades, not only Roquentin’s but also those around him. Roquentin learns that he cannot rely on anyone else for his happiness.

The novel can be read in a whole number of ways. No doubt some will see it as the idle rich having too much time on their hands to do anything other than lounge about feeling sorry for themselves, however, most readers will simply see this as an introduction to Sartre's philosophy on existentialism. Roquentin tries to refute the existence of anything but the present but when he meets an old flame, Anny, in Paris, he realises that any apparent disconnect between past and present is only ever illusory. Which is a message to us all.

Personally I found this a rather hard and not an overly enjoyable read, mainly because I simply had to really concentrate to get anything at all out of it. I never felt able to just zone out for a wee while. That is not to say it does not have its merits. In particular it was interesting to be reminded that every individual has the freedom and the ability to choose different paths at different moments in their lives. This on the face of it seems blindingly obvious but it is in fact probably the most important freedom that we will ever have. Overall I am glad that I've read it but am doubtful that I would ever actively seek out any of his other writings. ( )
  PilgrimJess | May 16, 2020 |
made me nauseous ( )
  cortneycassidy | Feb 14, 2020 |
I read this book to practice my French....Sadly i have not felt the need to reread, nor do I retain any details to inspire a re-engagement. A writer, tries to relentlessly examine his life, hoping to find some kind of redeeming moment or quality in it....He's not optimistic about his results. He could actually try to do something interesting... ( )
  DinadansFriend | Oct 23, 2019 |
[Vacío/Empty] ( )
  andycyca | Aug 6, 2019 |
I just finished reading this, and can't really say that it was very good. It was good enough that I manged to read through to the end, but I didn't find that I was able to read it at much of a pace for the most part.

This read a lot like it was reading my journals from my mid-teens to mid-twenties. There was some story there which stood on its own, but it really wasn't enough of a story to justify the length of the book, even though it is fairly short.

I don't know that I can say a whole lot more about this. I may drop it in the, "to get rid of" book box before too long... ( )
  JigmeDatse | Jun 4, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Sartre's name, I understand, is associated with a fashionable brand of cafe philosophy and since for every so-called "existentialist" one finds quite a few "suctorialists" (if I may coin a polite term), this made-in- England translation of Sartre's first novel, "La Nausée" (published in Paris in 1938) should enjoy some success. It is hard to imagine except in a farce) a dentist persistently pulling out the wrong tooth. Publishers and translators, however, seem to get away with something of that sort. Lack of space limits me to only these examples of Mr. Alexander's blunders.

» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sartre, Jean-Paulprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aardweg, H.P. v.d.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alexander, LloydTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baldick, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carp, E. A. D. E.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carruth, HaydenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caruso, PaoloContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fonzi, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mannerkorpi, JuhaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'He is a fellow without any collective significance, barely an individual.'
L. F. Céline, The Church
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These notebooks were found among the papers of Antoine Roquentin. ("Editors' Note")
The best thing would be to write down events from day to day.
"I live in the past. I take everything that has happened to me and arrange it. From a distance like that, it doesn't do any harm, you'd almost let yourself be caught in it. Our whole story is fairly beautiful. I give it a few prods and it makes a whole string of perfect moments. Then I close my eyes and try to imagine that I'm still living inside it."
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Dopo aver viaggiato a lungo, Antoine Roquentin si stabilisce a Bouville, in uno squallido albergo vicino alla stazione, per scrivere una tesi di dottorato in storia. La sera, si siede al tavolo di un bistrot ad ascoltare un disco, sempre lo stesso: Some of These Days. La sua vita ormai non ha piú senso: il passato è abitato da Anny, mentre il presente è sempre piú sommerso da una sensazione dolce e orribile, insinuante, che ha nome Nausea. Un romanzo trasgressivo e ricchissimo, sempre attuale, che ci restituisce il disagio del mondo in agonia alla vigilia della Seconda guerra mondiale. Il libro piú libero di Sartre, il piú disinteressato e il piú appassionato insieme. 
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014118549X, 0141194847

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