This article reconsiders Sartre's seminal 1945 talk, "Existentialism is a Humanism," and the stakes of the humanism debate in France by looking at the immediate political context that has been overlooked in previous discussions of the text. It analyses the political discussion of the term "humanism" during the French national elections of 1945 and the rumbling debate over Sartre's philosophy that culminated in his presentation to the Club Maintenant, just one week after France went to the polls. A consideration of this context helps explain both the rise, and later the decline, of existentialism in France, when, in the changing political climate, humanism lost its centrality, setting the stage for new antihumanist criticisms of Sartre's work.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science