What is Political Writing?: Sartre and Merleau-Ponty on Literature and the Expression of Meaning
Author: Bereudzen, Joseph C.
Source: Sartre Studies International, Volume 7, Number 2, Winter 2001 , pp. 44-57(14)
Publisher: Berghahn Journals
Abstract:Merleau-Ponty's essay "Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence" is not thoroughly political in its content, nor is it solely addressed to Sartre. It is dedicated to Sartre, however, and the ideas it contains pose a definite challenge to Sartre's views in What is Literature? Merleau-Ponty rejected Sartre's view of communication arising from the direct transmission of meaning through prose. Instead, he stressed that real political significance is implicated in artistic expression, even if it is in some ways ambiguous. Although it would be difficult to say that Sartre changed his views in direct response to "Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence," his later views do fall in line with Merleau-Ponty's thoughts. One might say that, by taking a Merleau-Pontian view of language, Sartre worked out some of the tensions in his earlier views. Consequently, he ended up with a much richer view of literature, yet one that retained the political significance he wanted in What is Literature?
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 1, 2001
- Published in association with the UK Sartre Society Studies and the North American Sartre Society
Sartre Studies International publishes articles of a multidisciplinary, cross-cultural and international character reflecting the full range and complexity of Sartre's own work. It focuses on the philosophical, literary and political issues originating in existentialism, and explores the continuing vitality of existentialist and Sartrean ideas in contemporary society and contemporary culture. Each issue contains a reviews section and a notice board of current events, such as conferences, publications and media broadcasts linked to Sartre's life, work and intellectual legacy.
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