Monday, June 21, 2010

In 1964, Sartre renounced literature in a witty and sardonic account of the first ten years of his life, Les mots (Words). The book is an ironic counterballast to , whose reputation had unexpectedly eclipsed that of (who had provided the model of littérature engagée for Sartre's generation). Literature, Sartre concluded, functioned ultimately as a bourgeois substitute for real commitment in the world. In October 1964, Sartre was awarded the but he declined it. He was the first Nobel Laureate to voluntarily decline the prize