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Sartre: "Les Mains Sales" (Glasgow Introductory Guides to French Literature) Paperback – Aug 1988

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Product details

  • Paperback: 68 pages
  • Publisher: University of Glasgow, French & German Publications (Aug. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0852612478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0852612477
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 14 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 894,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
Obviously, as a play, this should ideally be encountered in performance, but reading the text allows Sartre's insightful philosphical exploration to be shown through the plot and character development. Interspersing 'present-day' scenes with flashbacks, Sartre creates a suitable feeling of suspense in the reader, even though we know what's about to happen and simultaneously feel the inevitability of it all. Hugo's refusal to let go of his political idealism in the face of all evidence to the contary is almost tragic, yet perfectly encapsulates the universal tendency towards 'mauvaise foi' that Sartre so despised. This leads to a reassessment of our own self-awareness, and forces us to come to terms with the weaknesses of human communication in relationships. If the characters are stereotyped (Hugo=dedicated political idealist, Jessica=dutiful but physically detached wife, Hoederer=world-weary political pragmatist), this is because they have created these characters for themselves and live up to the identities they have adopted. It is a frequent criticism of Sartre's plays that they are philosophical to the point of losing all feasibility as fiction, but I think Les Mains Sales escapes this charge as it demonstrates an awareness of both past and present, cause and effect, and our inherent human inability to determine one from the other. This play is incredibly useful for understanding the real-life implications of Sartre's philosophy of 'mauvaise foi', and exemplifies his much-misunderstood comment in Huis Clos that "l'enfer, c'est les autres".
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