Jean-Paul-Charles-Aymard Sartre was born in Paris on June 21, 1905. When his father died, Jean-Paul was only fifteen months old, and was sick with enteritis. When he recovered, his mother took him to live at her parent's house, in Meudon in 1907. He was pampered as a kid and his mother was as he put it "in chains" and was treated like a child. He was raised by his mother and grandmother as a Catholic, but his grandfather poked fun at the religion, being a Protestant himself. Around 1909, he suffered from leucoma in his right eye, this would lead to make him "half-blind and wall-eyed." In 1911, his family left Meudon and went to live in Paris. He taught himself to read at a very early age, and spent a lot of his time in his grandfather huge library.
His first attempt at schooling was a disaster, when one the first day his grandfather was disappointed with his progress, and withdrew him the second day. He began private tutoring and at the age of nine he attended a public school and then later a private school. God had ceased to be a meaningful object of faith for the boy, as he says, "Failing to take root in my heart, He vegetated in me for a while, then He died."
He took to writing, and was thought by everyone to end up a writer. At this time his mother remarried, and they moved to La Rochelle. In 1920, he moved back to Paris, and in June he passed the first part of the baccalaureate, and in 1922 he passed the second part. He wrote a thesis in 1927 but failed the exam, and in 1929 he not only passed the exam he placed first in it. At this time he was unofficially engaged with a grocer's daughter. Then, he met Simone de Beauvoir, who had placed second on the exam. Their close relationship endured for more than a half of a century, until his death in 1980. They never did marry thought, saying that they had no need for the bourgeois formalities of marriage.
In 1938, when Hitler took over the Sudetenland, Sartre was torn between his personal pacifism and his anti-Nazi feelings. In 1939, his decision was made for him when he was conscripted into the army to fight Hitler. On June 21, 1940, when the Germans invaded France, he was taken captive. In March of 1941, he escaped from the prison camp. The next month, he started the Socialism and Liberty resistance group.
In October, he began teaching at the Lycee Condorcet and dissolved Socialism and Liberty. In May of 1944 his play No Exit premiered. He says that it was an attempt "to 'repeat' Being and Nothingness in different words." In July of the same year de Beauvoir and he escaped from Paris, and started a publication called, Modern Times. In 1945, The Age of Reason was published.
In 1950, Sartre denounced the Soviet Labor Camps. And in the next year his play, The Devil and the Good Lord, premiered. He worked on Modern Times for a while and in 1958, he participated in a protest againist the Algerian War and a press conference on human rights.
In June of 1961, after he moved his mother into a hotel, and de Beauvoir and him bought and apartment in Paris, it was bomded. In the next January, his apartment was bomded another time, and this time he decided to move out of it. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and refused it on grounds of principle. He refused it for two reasons. The first being that it was as a protest to it being awarded only to Western writers, and Soviet dissidents. Second, he was fearful that he might be turned into the institution.
In 1962 he adopted Arlette Elkaim, a gifted musican. In 1970, Sartre accepted the nominal editorship for several leftist publications. In 1972, thinking that "every man is a political animal," he started to edit a paper called Liberation.
In 1976, a film was made in Paris about him, and he accepted a doctorate form the Hebrew University. It was at this time that he claimed he was no longer a Marxist.
Sartre died on April 15, 1978, after a visit to Israel with his adopted daughter.
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