13套搞定新SAT语法Test01-4
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Several French Existentialists

In the years following World War II, France responded to its liberation from Nazi occupation with a remarkable flourishing of culture and intellectualism. One of the foremost movements to emerge during this time was the philosophical school of existentialism. Authors and thinkers 34affiliated to this movement produced a formidable yet accessible body of literature that is still read by many today.

One of the pioneers of existentialism was the author Jean-Paul Sartre, whose book Existentialism is a Humanism 35 concluded the philosophical principles of the movement. Sartre argued that human beings as individuals must define the meaning and purpose of their 36own lives, by developing their own values and acting in accordance with them. His worldview thus emphasized the importance of individual responsibility 37and also freedom of choice as well. Sartre's literary works explored these ideas, often by focusing on the thoughts and actions of irresponsible and immoral characters. 38

39Though he did not consider himself an existentialist, author Albert Camus also addressed existentialist themes in his writings. Camus often wrote about characters struggling to find meaning in a seemingly meaningless and absurd world. In one of his best-known works, The Stranger, the protagonist Meursault drifts apathetically through his life and, after being sentenced to death for murder, tries to come to terms with the apparent indifference of the universe itself. Camus' masterpiece, The Plague, depicts a group of citizens in the Algerian city of Oran as it is devastated by an outbreak of disease. 40Camus was actually a pied-noir, a child of French colonists born and raised in Algeria. This setting allows Camus to explore the existentialist themes of 41 moral responsibility and the search for meaning in suffering and the importance of social ties.

Author 42Simone de Beauvoir who maintained a lifelong romantic relationship with Sartre, united existentialist ideas with feminist convictions to write about the unique challenges that women faced in the mid-20th century. Her treatise The Second Sex examined how social roles and expectations 43constrain women's choices, shape their identities, and deny them the opportunity to find their own sources of meaning. In her novel Les Belles Images, her character Laurence struggles with feelings of dissatisfaction and constraint despite her seemingly ideal married life. Many critics praised de Beauvoir's frank depictions of women and felt that her female characters were more realistic and 44relatable than Sartre. It is hardly surprising that de Beauvoir's works, like those of the other existentialists, are widely read to this day.


1Authors and thinkers 34affiliated to this movement produced a formidable yet accessible body of literature that is still read by many today.