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The Age of Reason (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Once they start dancing, Boris is shocked to see a young man dancing impressively who turns out to be at least in his 40s. Boris had promptly understood: the individual’s duty is to do what he wants to do, to think whatever he likes, to be accountable to no one but himself, to challenege every idea and every person. Realising the game is up, he finally levels with her (although, frankly, surely Ivich should have figured this out by now, which kind of indicates the self-indulgent frame of mind she’s often in).

This seemed to her just funny, and she thought: ‘I don’t give a curse for coelenterata,’ and the chap couldn’t get another word out of her. She’s so anxiety-ridden she’s become an open cocaine addict, which Boris and Ivich agree is a “good thing” following on from a furtive discussion. All is going well until it becomes apparent he can’t receive the loan immediately, which leads him to try and chase down Sarah again.Anyway, I am with Mathieu’s brother, Jacques, when he says that Mathieu is a self-centred good-for-nothing who has no direction or purpose, who’s kept his mistress dangling for seven long years, and makes a fetish of his own inability to make decisions. In the years around the time of his death, however, existentialism declined in French philosophy and was overtaken by structuralism, represented by Levi-Strauss and, one of Sartre's detractors, Michel Foucault.

Either way, the dozen or so ‘freedom’ sections feel like plasters strapped onto the groaning seething mass of disgust, appalled descriptions of physical functions and an apparently never-ending series of ways for the characters to feel disgusted and revolted by each other. For instance, the person who takes out a massive loan for an impressive car and spends money on things that they cannot afford can find that when the money runs out or the creditors come knocking on their door, they discover that the friends that they thought they had are no longer around. Sartre mistakes movement -- Mathieu is almost constantly on the go -- for real action, and there's just not enough depth to his characters, in the way they are presented. If you hate summer, loathe being touched, are so morbidly self-conscious that other people looking at you hurts you, if you are revolted by your bodily functions and oppressed by a feeling of futility and pointlessness, ‘burdened by events to come’ and prey to ‘an intolerable anguish’ (p.This is not one of those rite to manhood type stories because with Sartre the coming of age, or in his words, the age of reason, is when one reaches that stage in life (if they ever reach that stage in life) when they realise that it is time for them to take charge of their life and to take responsibility for their actions. We believe, in a way, that the more money that we have (and the finance industry loves to float those ideas) the more we believe that we are able to do

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