Revisit one of the most important pillars in modern philosophy with this new English translation—the first in more than 60 years—of Jean-Paul Sartre’s seminal treatise on existentialism. “This is a philosophy to be reckoned with, both for its own intrinsic power and as a profound symptom of our time” (The New York Times).
In 1943, Jean-Paul Sartre published his masterpiece, Being and Nothingness, and laid the foundation of his legacy as one of the greatest twentieth century philosophers. A brilliant and radical account of the human condition, Being and Nothingness explores what gives our lives significance.
In a new, more accessible translation, this foundational text argues that we alone create our values and our existence is characterized by freedom and the inescapability of choice. Far from being an internal, passive container for our thoughts and experiences, human consciousness is constantly projecting itself to the outside world and imbuing it with meaning.
Now with a new foreword by Harvard professor of philosophy Richard Moran, this clear-eyed translation guarantees that the groundbreaking ideas that Sartre introduced in this resonant work will continue to inspire for generations to come.
About the Author
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980) was the foremost French thinker and writer of the post-WWII years. His books have exerted enormous influence in philosophy, literature, art, and politics.
Sarah Richmond is Senior Lecturer at University College London. She received her PhD in philosophy from Oxford University. She coedits the academic journal, Sartre Studies International.
“Sarah Richmond’s marvellously clear and thoughtful new translation brings Sartre’s rich, infuriating, endlessly fertile masterpiece to a whole new English-language readership.”
— Sarah Bakewell, author of At the Existentialist Café
“Sarah Richmond’s translation of this ground-zero existentialist text is breathtaking. Having developed a set of brilliant translation principles, laid out carefully in her introductory notes, she has produced a version of Sartre’s magnum opus that – finally! – renders his challenging philosophical prose comprehensible to the curious general reader and his most compelling phenomenological descriptions and analyses luminous and thrilling for those of us who have studied Being and Nothingness for years.”
— Nancy Bauer, Tufts University
“This superb new translation is an extraordinary resource for Sartre scholars, including those who can read the work in French. Not only has Sarah Richmond produced an outstandingly accurate and fluent translation, but her extensive notes, introduction, and editorial comments ensure that the work will be turned to for clarification by all readers of Sartre. All in all, this is a major philosophical moment in Sartre studies.”
— Christina Howells, University of Oxford, UK
“A new translation of Being and Nothingness has been long overdue. Sarah Richmond has done an excellent job of translating and clarifying Sartre’s magnum opus, making its rich content accessible to a wider audience.”
— Dan Zahavi, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
“With its scholarly introduction, up-to-date bibliography and numerous footnotes, Richmond’s fluent and precise translation will be an indispensable tool even for scholars able to read Sartre in French.”
— Andrew Leak, University College London, UK
“This fine new translation provides us with as crisp a rendering as possible of Sartre’s complex prose. Richmond’s introduction, and a panoply of informative notes, also invite readers to share with her the intricacies of the task of translation and assist in grasping many of the conceptual vocabularies and nuances of this vital text.”
— Sonia Kruks, author of Simone de Beauvoir and the Politics of Ambiguity
“Sartre’s philosophy will always be important. Being and Nothingness is not an easy read but Sarah Richmond makes it accessible in English to the general reader. Her translation is exemplary in its clarity.”
— Richard Eyre