A monumental work of the twentieth century, Being and Nothingness is the fullest expression of Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy of existentialism. First published in 1943, this masterpiece still defines and expresses the modern condition, and holds great relevance for contemporary readers. Existentialism rejects the Cartesian duality of mind and matter, as well as supernatural authority, and claims instead that "being" comes before "knowing," and that each individual creates his own nature. Each person must overcome angst and choose to act in a passionate and authentic manner. Morality and truth can only be discovered in conscious individual choice and action. Included is a key to a special terminology, both the technical terms coined by Sartre and familiar words to which he assigned special meanings.
Jean-Paul Sartre was born in Paris in 1905 and died in 1980. A philosopher, author, and social critic, he was a key figure among the French intellectuals who resisted the Nazi occupation during World War II. His many plays and novels also express existential themes.