Nausea, Melancholy and the Internal Negation of the Past

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Abstract:

In this paper, I argue that temporality, as described in Being and Nothingness, is a central theme in Nausea. In the first section I make the point that one of Sartre's guiding concerns at the time of publishing Nausea is temporality and the temporal nature of freedom. In the second section, the theme of melancholy and its relationship to temporality is explored. The third section explores Sartre's use of this image of being taken 'from behind'. I use this temporal imagery as a guide for interpreting Roquentin's reaction to the rape and murder of Lucienne. By interpreting this scene by way of the temporality of Being and Nothingness, we can duly recognize the early Sartre's concern with temporality, understand the melancholia that arises because of the 'internal' negation of the past, and give a more satisfying account of a scene which is often ignored in the secondary literature.

Keywords: MELANCHOLY; NAUSEA; SARTRE; TEMPORALITY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ssi.2009.150201

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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