The Roads to Freedom

The Roads to Freedom

"The Roads to Freedom" ("Les chemins de la liberté", in the original French) is a trilogy of novels by Jean-Paul Sartre.

The three novels "L'âge de raison" ("The Age of Reason"), "Le sursis" (generally translated as "The Reprieve" but which could cover a number of semantic fields from 'deferment' to 'amnesty'), and "La mort dans l'âme" ("Troubled Sleep", originally translated as "Iron in the Soul"), revolve around Mathieu, a Socialist teacher of philosophy, and a group of his friends. The trilogy was to be followed by a fourth novel, Drôle d'amitié; however, Sartre would never finish it, and only two (untranslated) chapters remain. [Caute, D: Introduction to "The Reprieve" by Jean-Paul Sartre, Penguin Classics 2001]

The novels were written largely in response to the events of World War II and the Nazi occupation of France, and express certain significant shifts in Sartre's philosophical position towards 'engagement' (commitment) in both life and literature, finding their resolution in the extended essay "L'existentialisme c'est un humanisme" ("Existentialism is a Form of Humanism"), which was criticized from both sides of the existentialist fence.

This series of novels is considered to be (for example by Rowley in "Tête-à-tête") semi-autobiographical, with, for example, Mathieu standing in for Sartre, and Ivich representing Olga Kosakiewicz.

The novel series was adapted into a ten-part television serial for the BBC in 1970, starring Michael Bryant as Mathieu.


External links

*Imdb title|0159910

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