Publisher André Schiffrin died Sunday at the age of 78. As editor-in-chief of Pantheon Books, he published books by Studs Turkel (previously), Günter Grass (previously), Simone de Beauvoir (previously), Jean-Paul Sartre (previously), and many, many other literary giants of the 20th century. The NYT obit doesn't do Schiffrin justice, however; for that, you'll have to read Dennis Johnson's appreciation: No one did so much, in fact, to define the term independent publisher coming into the twenty-first century.
The FBI files on being and nothingness. "From 1945 onwards, J Edgar Hoover’s FBI spied on Camus and Sartre. The investigation soon turned into a philosophical inquiry…" [Via]
Can autonomous vehicles navigate the law? This year has been full of big news about the progress of self-driving cars. They are currently street legal in three states and Google says that on a given day, they have a dozen autonomous cars on the road. This August, they passed 300,000 driver-hours. In Spain this summer, Volvo drove a convoy of three cars through 200 kilometers of desert highway with just one driver and a police escort. Cadillac's newest models park themselves. The writing, one might think, is on the wall. But objects in the media may be farther off than they appear.
An angry crow mocked me this morning. I couldn’t finish my croissant, and fled the café in despair.— and other excerpts from Le Blog de Jean-Paul Sartre
"Scooby Doo can doo-doo, but Jimmy Carter is smarter." [a bale of detritus blows across the living room]
RCMP eyed philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre during tense Quebec political upheaval. [theglobeandmail.com] Canadian spies closely eyed existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, tracking his planned trip to Quebec in support of people arrested during a crackdown on separatist threats, newly released documents show. The declassified Royal Canadian Mounted Police dossier on Mr. Sartre also reveals that Mountie intelligence officers pored over translations of the French writer’s pronouncements, monitored his links to the peace movement and noted the academic rebel’s brushes with the law.
Those Americans who are familiar with the name Claude Lanzmann most likely know him as the director of “Shoah,” his monumental 1985 documentary about the extermination of the European Jews in the Nazi gas chambers. As it turns out, though, the story of Lanzmann’s eventful life would have been well worth telling even if he had never come to direct “Shoah.” In addition to film director, Lanzmann’s roles have included those of journalist, editor, public intellectual, member of the French Resistance, long-term lover of Simone de Beauvoir and close friend of Jean-Paul Sartre, world traveler, political activist, ghostwriter for Jacques Cousteau — I could go on, but it’s a good deal more entertaining to hear Lanzmann himself go on, and thanks to the publication in English of his memoir, “The Patagonian Hare,” we now have the opportunity to do so. (previously)
What would have happened if a science fiction classic had been written by the father of French philosophy? Existential Star Wars. Extra special bonus: a little girl feels the power of the dark side.
M. Sartre goes to Hollywood. In 1958, John Huston asked Jean-Paul Sartre to write a biopic of Sigmund Freud. "The Huston-Sartre collaboration fell apart in 1959, when Sartre travelled to Huston's home in Ireland to work on the script. The two didn't work well together. 'There was no such thing as a conversation with him,' Huston later recalled. 'He talked incessantly, and there was no interrupting him. You'd wait for him to catch his breath, but he wouldn't.' Meanwhile Sartre, in his letters to Simone de Beauvoir, described Huston as 'perfectly vacant, literally incapable of speaking to those whom he has invited.'" [via Bookslut] [more inside]
Sartre at 100. Today would have been philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre's 100th birthday. Despite renewed interest in him in France, there is some question as to what the legacy of this man is - whether as author, philosopher, playwright, or communist. He was noted for radical views on freedom both in the philosophical and political senses, less so for his recipes. What does he mean today?
"I have realized that the traditional omelet form (eggs and cheese) is bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of a cigarette, some coffee, and four tiny stones."
Jean-Paul Sartre - A Tribute to Camus A eulogy for a man we all knew well...