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on 28 January 2013
In this celebrated work JPS set out his principles of freedom that would become a kind of blueprint for the 1960s. At times a strangely abstract novel that harks back to Zola for an overall feel of a decadent middle class about to make the hyper-jump to a Gallic Counter-Culture with World War 2 applying the brakes for a few years before the 1960s explosion.

I am impressed with Jean-Paul's proto-hippie characters; we know them, we are them, we have been them, we loved them, we hated them. Everyone in this Parisian bubble of bohemian nightclubs, student life and existential selfishness has problems of sorts, but lets be honest, no one here is out of pocket, overworked or wondering where their next meal is coming from. All can indulge themselves in sex, philosophy, introspection, drink and drugs. The Left Bank becomes a sort of late 1930s 1960s San Fransisco, the only thing missing is rock music and flowers...man. Here the music is Jazz and yes, we even have a sex scene with the lady wearing a flower in her hair...uncanny.

I mention the characters because there is little else and there doesn't need to be; the characterization is simply brilliant. Sartre cuts the frills to the bone and at times I wondered what period we were in-the 1930s, the 1870s or the 1960s. Are they selfish early yuppies? Beautiful people? Spoilt brats or pioneers of 20th Century personal freedoms? My own view is that they are all of these.

A great novel that predicted and defined much of the culture of the late 20th Century.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 November 2010
The Age of Reason: Jean-Paul Sartre, 1945; trans. Eric Sutton, Penguin, London, 2001.

An entertaining introduction to existentialism
By Howard Jones

This is painless philosophy. This philosophical treatise by one of the great existentialists, the French philosopher Jean-Paul Satre, is written in the form of a novel.
It is set in immediately pre-war Paris in the summer of 1938 and describes two days in the life of a philosophy teacher called Mathieu Delarue. He now finds that his mistress of seven years, Marcelle, who rarely leaves the house she shares with her mother, is pregnant. Mathieu is in urgent need of 4000 francs to procure an abortion. Until now, he has kept his sex life quite separate from his other friends and his daytime work or play - mostly the latter in the bars and cafés of Paris. But now, unable to make the commitment of marriage, the situation with Marcelle is threatening to disrupt his playboy lifestyle.

Mathieu's brother Jacques refuses to lend him the money for the abortion on moral grounds. He does however offer to lend 10,000 francs if Mathieu will marry Michelle. Another of Mathieu's girlfriends, the mean-spirited Ivich, also makes demands on him. And behind all of this is the backdrop of the looming war with its threat of occupation, which would unquestionably enforce a major change in lifestyle. So does Mathieu bite the bullet and give up his freedom in marriage - or will he have his freedom curtailed in any event by the war. If he becomes a `family man' he will no longer have the standing as the young Communist rebel. Satre has also created a homosexual friend, Daniel, for Mathieu as someone who constantly avoids relationships because he exhibits such self-loathing - or is his death-wish perhaps a result of the rejection of his companions?

This is a fascinating tale and portrays so well the joy of living in the moment, without attachments and complications, but also the anguish we all go through when several factors over which we have no control are threatening to impinge on us. You need only explore the undercurrents in the novel as far as you wish.

Dr Howard A. Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God (2006) and The Tao of Holism (2008), both published by O Books of Winchester, UK.
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on 6 January 2015
I have only read The Age of Reason from the Roads to Freedom trilogy, and it worked well as a stand-alone novel. Sartre's novels are very subtle, so you could either read it as a straightforward (and admittedly non-eventful) story about a man trying to secure money for his girlfriend's abortion, or spend hours uncovering Sartre's latent existentialist philosophy. I find this way of learning about existentialism less menacing and much more enjoyable than delving into an academic text. Much to quote from this novel, it was a beautiful read.
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on 8 January 2013
Essential piece of fiction for people who like cynical plots and motives. The characters are perfectly written : Mathieu the teacher/washout, Daniel the smooth-featured homosexual with spiteful motives, Brunet the likable, commie party-pusher, Ivich the russian brat student (and a few more) develop in the story in very convincing ways. lots of angst about unexpected things and lots of selfish motives. I read it as drama-ish study of self-absorbed philosophies.
I think i liked all the characters a little bit, which is impressive since most (including the protagonist) are selfish brats trying to preserve a responsibility-free life at the expense of others.
My favorite piece of dialogue in the novel, i think is the patronizing, morality speech Mathieu gets from his brother who is the only person able to lend to mathieu the money he needs for the abortion.
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on 16 February 2018
Frankly, it's miserable. Beautifully miserable.
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on 30 December 2014
Very pleased with my purchase.
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on 20 December 2017
thank you
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on 4 July 2016
Fairly good condition.
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on 18 September 2010
If you enjoy reading philosophical, metaphysical works of fiction you will love this book. As popular culture reduces everything to the lowest common denominator (violence, sex, profanity, instant gratification) and treats the reader or viewer as a moron with the attention span of a dog, Sartre does the opposite. Every sentence by every character is given equal serious interpretation by every other character. Every mood and motivation is analysed, every act is considered and reconsidered. Existentialism is everywhere. And the writing is sublime. The language is beautiful. I can't wait to read the next two novels in the trilogy.
Perhaps the only negative is that I concurrently read the excellent 'Tete a tete' about Sartre's life and his relationship with Simone de Beauvoir. It is clear from reading this biography that the characters in the Roads to Freedom trilogy are almost exact replicas of Sartre's friends and lovers. And of course the pricipal character is a Professor of Philosophy! as was Sartre of course.
However this does not detract from what, in this modern age of vacuous nonsense, is a breath of fresh air from a high mountain of stratospheric genius.
JP :O)
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on 8 May 2013
Unable to give any direct feedback as this was bought as a present. Unable to say anymore about this item although I head read Sartre and he is a good writer.
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