Philosophy's Journey into Darkness

By Jean-Paul Sartre
French, 1938
Existentialist  Philosophy

Main Attractions

1.  Unique Diary Entry Style 
2.  Unreliable Narrator
3.  Can experience the Novel
4.  Highly Re-readable
5.  Blended Plot & Consciousness
6.  Advanced Holden Caulfield
7.  Baffling & Understandable
8.  Gateway into Philosophy
9.  Highly Quotable
10. Plot Seeps into the Reader


Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Decadent Chocolate Cheese ’N Cake
This novel is rich in quotable lines that can spark deep thinking.  Some of the ideas are very abstract and could become a bit difficult to ponder.  Some of them are also very dark and could feel creepy to think about.    Superficially, the narrator may sound like a more intelligent Holden Caulfield who may come across as whining.        

Why Visit Here

It’s a good introduction to Existentialist philosophy because the philosophy is told in a story format.  After a few readings, more and more ideas can emerge from this text.  Of course reading dense philosophical works can also deepen your understanding of this text.  Nausea is not written in a dense, academic way.  The sentences and vocabulary are actually quite modern and straightforward.  The ideas Sartre reveals are very profound and can be uncomfortable to explore.

Destination Summary

The narrator is overcome by this new state of mind which he calls “Nausea.”  It overcomes him in waves and is the central idea in the book.

Off the Beaten Path

Why I Like Existentialism a 16 minute video by Eric Dodson where he explains what it is in a relatable, personal way.  It’s a good introduction to this topic because it’s not overly technical.

Travel Advisory

The opening pages of this book can seep out of the pages, I swear The Ring was inspired by this book!

Packing List
✓ A strong mind and stomach
✓ Curiosity into the dark side of the psyche 
✓ A ratty copy of an old Nietzsche book of your choosing.
✓ Or Heidegger’s Being & Time for the adventurous!

Recommended Resources
Alternate Books
Hunger By Knut Hamsun (1890) - The narrator in both books are feeling the decline of the self.  The novels are told in vary different ways.
Crime & Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866) - The main character’s thoughts are the focus of the novel and are obsessed with his internal reaction to committing a crime.
Catcher in the Rye By J.D Salinger (1951) - If you enjoyed or sympathized with Caulfield, you maybe intrigued by the different point of view in Nausea