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Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

Nausea (original 1938; edition 2007)

by Jean-Paul Sartre, Richard Howard (Introduction), Lloyd Alexander (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,50038588 (3.77)133
Authors:Jean-Paul Sartre
Other authors:Richard Howard (Introduction), Lloyd Alexander (Translator)
Info:New Directions (2007), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre (1938)

  1. 20
    Notes from Underground by Fedor Mikhaïlovitch Dostoïevski (shadowclast)
    shadowclast: 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. 20
    The Words by Jean-Paul Sartre (John_Vaughan, John_Vaughan)
  3. 10
    The Moviegoer by Walker Percy (erezv)
  4. 10
    Homo Faber by Max Frisch (thecoroner)
  5. 10
    The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke (roby72)
  6. 10
    The Stranger by Albert Camus (roby72)
  7. 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.
  8. 00
    Yes (Phoenix Fiction Series) by Thomas Bernhard (StevenTX)
  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 133 mentions

English (28)  Italian (4)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  English (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
It bothers me how much I identified with Roquentin. Also, "I suppose it is out of laziness that the world is the same day after day." ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
In a life devoid of belief, stripped of illusion, and skeptical about the impressions of the senses, what can one actually know? What should one do? If life has no meaning, why even bother to live? "I exist--the world exists--and I know that the world exists. That's all." This is the conclusion of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who chronicles his intellectual and emotional struggles in Sartre's novel Nausea.

Roquentin's crisis begins with the unsettling feeling that the objects of everyday life are not as they appear to be; they are even threatening. He feels manipulated by them. "Objects should not touch because they are not alive.... But they touch me, it is unbearable. I am afraid of being in contact with them as though they are living beasts." This fear produced in Roquentin a vertiginous feeling he calls Nausea.

As the days pass, the diarist's feeling shift. There are spells of normalcy when the Nausea does not strike him. He continues his work, researching the life of an 18th century French diplomat. But at one point he encounters a document that invalidates everything he has learned about his subject. It was all a pretense established for the sake of the man's legacy. History is nothing but lies. Its truths are forever hidden, if they existed at all. The past is meaningless. Roquentin's life's work is pointless.

Eventually Roquentin questions even his own right to exist. He sinks further into despair and Nausea as he wanders the streets of the port city where he has been working. He clings to the one incontrovertible fact: "I exist." And as for the rest of the world, "things are entirely what they appear to be--and behind them . . . there is nothing."

Many of Roquentin's ideas are expressed in his dialogues with a fellow library patron whom he knows only as the Self-Taught Man. This gentleman educates himself simply by reading the contents of the public library, shelf by shelf, in alphabetical order. He accepts everything, questions nothing, and is the novel's spokesman for conventional wisdom and community values. One of the novel's most interesting passages is when the Self-Taught Man defends humanism, insisting that there is a natural moral law. Roquentin refutes this with view that there is only the self in a life devoid of meaning or purpose.

Nausea is one of the key texts of Existentialism. Its message is simple and powerful. The prose--which includes Roquentin's dreams, hallucinations and occasional paranoid imaginings--is vivid and occasionally disturbing. This is an important novel which challenges our beliefs and perceptions, and is highly recommended. ( )
4 vote StevenTX | Jan 28, 2015 |
În fața Absurdului și a lipsei de semnificație a lumii nu prea simt Greață ci doar înstrăinare. ( )
  mariusgm | Sep 12, 2014 |
Depressing and boring...but you feel this guy's pain. EXISTENTIALIST ANGST- or as we say in French "pas de vin".
  Inky500 | Jun 14, 2014 |
This is Sartre's first novel and one of his best-known. I read it as part of an introductory class on Existentialism at the University of Chicago's Basic Program of Liberal Studies. Sartre's novel depicts the life of a dejected historian in a town similar to Le Havre, who becomes convinced that inanimate objects and situations encroach on his ability to define himself, on his intellectual and spiritual freedom, evoking in the protagonist a sense of nausea. Colin Wilson commented on this novel that "Roquentin feels insignificant before things. Without the meaning his Will would normally impose on it, his existence is absurd. Causality — Hume’s bugbear — has collapsed; consequently there are no adventures." While it is widely considered one of the canonical works of existentialism I did not find it as helpful as The Plague by Camus or The Trial by Kafka for my development of a better understanding of existentialism. I was not impressed with Sartre's approach to Roquentin, the main character, who seemed to lack direction, unable to process or even recognize reality. I found it difficult to appreciate Sartre's handling of this and other issues. Even the humor present in the actions of Ogier P., the autodidact, fell flat.

In his essay "What Is literature?", Sartre wrote, "On the one hand, the literary object has no substance but the reader's subjectivity . . . But, on the other hand, the words are there like traps to arouse our feelings and to reflect them towards us . . . Thus, the writer appeals to the reader's freedom to collaborate in the production of the work." His appeal did not work well for me in this novel. Perhaps another time it will. ( )
2 vote jwhenderson | Dec 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (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 (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean-Paul Sartreprimary 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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0811217000, Paperback)

The classic Existentialist novel, with a new introduction by renowned poet, translator, and critic Richard Howard.

Winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize for Literature, Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher, critic, novelist, and dramatist, holds a position of singular eminence in the world of letters. Among readers and critics familiar with the whole of Sartre's work, it is generally recognized that his earliest novel, La Nausée (first published in 1938), is his finest and most significant. It is unquestionably a key novel of the twentieth century and a landmark in Existentialist fiction.

Nausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressionistic, diary form he ruthlessly catalogues 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." Roquentin's efforts to come to terms with life, his philosophical and psychological struggles, give Sartre the opportunity to dramatize the tenets of his Existentialist creed.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:34 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressionistic, diary form he ruthlessly catalogues 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. Roquentin's efforts to come to terms with life, his philosophical and psychological struggles, give Sartre the opportunity to dramatize the tenets of his Existentialist creed.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014118549X, 0141194847

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