In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Roog REWEWS 133 Cumming complicates his Starting Point by promising that it is to be followed by a second book which will offer an account of phenomenology, especially as practiced by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, from the standpoint of an existential dialectic. He justifies this reversal of the more usual expository order in which phenomenology precedes existentialism by citing the quirkiness of philosophical history in which English speaking readers have in fact generally been introduced to continental thinkers in this recapitulative, wiederholend manner. But I wonder whether a second volume alone can do justice to Cumming's ambitious attempt to clarify the nature of philosophy by means of existential reflection on ways of starting and ways of speaking . Noticeable in Cumming's topics, in his tone, and in his style of rigorous commentary and startling juxtaposition are some deep affinities with such post-existential writers as Derrida or Foucault. We should hope then not only to be able to read Cumming soon on the classical phenomenological line but also that he will eventually explain whether and how an existential dialectic differs from a philosophy of deconstruction and difference, to which it seems very close in the present book. GARY SHAPIRO University of Kansas Hazel E. Barnes, Sartre and Flaubert (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981 ) x + 449 PP. Cloth and Paperback. Whoever would attempt an adequate study of Sartre's Flaubert volumes should be competent in literary criticism and philosophy as well as familiar with Flaubert's own writings and the secondary literature that surrounds them. Above all, the person must be steeped in Sartrean scholarship because this book culminates Sartre's life work. Such a rara avis is Hazel Barnes, though she would modestly decline the encomium. What she offers us is less a summary than what she calls a "critical introduction" to the almost three thousand pages of The Family Idiot. She does, of course, analyze the argument and major themes of the work. Indeed, she even corrects several of Sartre's references to Flaubert's correspondence. But her point is to develop a thesis that, she believes, underlies the entire opus and, indeed, much of Sartre's artistic and literary output, namely, the problem of the relation between creative imagination and practical concerns, between the unreal and the real. At the outset she asks three questions posed by the critics of Sartre's enterprises: Can we accept his "Flaubert" as Flaubert?; has he significantly enriched our appreciation of Flaubert's oeuvre? and How do we relate The Family Idiot to the rest of Sartre's work? The first two questions, while of apparent interest only to literary critics, in fact turn on the issue of Sartre's progressive-regressive method, announced in Searchfor a Method. A synthesis of existential psychoanalysis and historical materialism, it tenders Sartre's response to the question, "What can we know about a person in the present state of our knowledge?" Since The Family Idiot is the paradigm of this method at work, Barnes's first two questions ultimately address the success of this method. 134 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 22:1 JAN 1984 Sartre's method and her analysis assume the posture of a hypothesis: read the data of Flaubert's life, his letters and quasi-autobiographical stories, especially the juvenilia, as welt as the observations and recollections of contemporaries in the light of a fundamental project of "personalization." This project will illuminate the events and works that constitute the original "data"; they in turn, by their mutual coherence and verisimilitude will confirm the truth of" the whole, the "concrete universal" as Sartre puts it, who is Gustave Flaubert. Sartre's aim, and Barnes's as well, is to render the concrete sens of a life and not merely its abstract signification. As Sartre remarks in criticizing Marxist accounts, "Val6ry was a petit-bourgeois, to be sure; but not every petit-bourgeois was Val~ry." The concreteness of Sartre's analysis centers on Flaubert 's psychosomatic crisis of x844 that left him free to pursue the life of a novelist, in effect, his Sartrean "choice" of the imaginary and of the novel as a permanent locus of derealization. Barnes succeeds...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 133-134
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.