Lajoie de la Nausée: l'exploration de la conscience Sartrienne dans un optique Bouddhiste

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University of Alabama Libraries

Jean-Paul Sartre is known for an existential philosophy grounded on atheistic foundations. Considering his expressly non-spiritual view of existence, a remarkably similar philosophical basis between Sartre’s existentialism and Mahāyāna Buddhism may come as a surprise. Supporting such similarities, the thesis poses the question whether happiness may be viewed in a comparable light by both the existentialist and the Buddhist manner of being. The first part of this thesis thus draws heavily on existing research by various critics in order to establish a solid link between the two philosophies. After mapping out these similarities, the thesis elaborates on examples found in Sartre’s first novel, La nausée. The second portion of this thesis looks at two specific concepts—nothingness, found in Sartre’s philosophy, and śūnyatā, found in Buddhist philosophy—which at first seem to describe mirrored phenomena. I argue that while śūnyatā does not in fact mirror the narrator of La nausée’s (Roquentin’s) experience of writing, it does come very close to reflecting the experience of observing the work of another artist in Roquentin’s listening to the jazz song Some of these days. The relationship between the artist and the observer is a topic that Sartre discusses in detail in his essay on critical theory Qu’est-ce que la littérature. His own statements confirm that there is a strong connection between La nausée and Buddhist ontology.

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Literature, Philosophy