“It’s strange. I felt less lonely when I didn’t know you": First edition of Sartre's most famous work; Inscribed by him to the wife of fellow phenomenological philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty

  • Les Mouches: Drame en Trois Actes (Flies).
  • Les Mouches: Drame en Trois Actes (Flies).
  • Les Mouches: Drame en Trois Actes (Flies).

Les Mouches: Drame en Trois Actes (Flies).


Item Number: 95909

Paris : Gallimard, 1943.

First edition of Sartre’s best-known play. Octavo, bound in original one quarter morocco, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, top edge gilt. Association copy, inscribed by Jean-Paul Sartre on the half-title page, “Suzan Merleau-Ponty grace a qui finalement la piece a ete joue en reconnainance amicale Jean-Paul Sartre.” The recipient, Suzanne Merleau-Ponty was the wife of French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who studied at the École Normale Supérieure alongside Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Simone Weil, and Jean Hyppolite. He later became the political editor of Les Temps Modernes, the magazine established by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1945. In near fine condition. Housed the original full morocco slipcase. An exceptional association.

In his best known play, The Flies, Sartre incorporates existentialism with a retelling of the ancient Greek tragedy: Electra. While Sartre keeps many aspects of the original story by Aeschylus, he adjusts the play to fit his views, with strong themes of freedom from psychological slavery. "The play explores the key existentialist themes of freedom and responsibility through the radical conversion of Philebus, the peace loving intellectual, into Orestes the warrior. A person may not be prepared for present crises by his past experiences, but it is nonetheless bad faith for him to declare, 'I was not meant for this' or 'This should not be happening to me.' Orestes resists bad faith and achieves authenticity by rising to the demands of his circumstances and fully realizing his being-in-situation" (Cox, Sartre and Fiction,131).

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