Jean-Baptiste Clamence: The Existentialist Rambler

  In his eulogy for Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre said that The Fall was likely Camus’s “finest and least understood” book.  Given that Sartre’s most famous work, Huis Clos (or No Exit), bemoans that “hell is other people”, and that the protagonist of The Fall, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, spends his life tormented by the thought of […]

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None: The Existentialist Murder Mystery

  If anybody ever wondered how Jean-Paul Sartre’s Huis Clos—or as it is more famously known in English, No Exit—would play out as a murder mystery, then one need look no further than Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which actually predates Huis Clos by four years.  Rather than three unacquainted individuals meeting up […]

Carter Brown’s Play Now… Kill Later: The Existentialist Detective Novel

  As is the case with most Carter Brown novels, Play Now… Kill Later is a template of pulp era detective fiction.  It is filled with titillating women, each peered at through the male gaze, has an androcentric perspective, and follows a private eye as he unravels a mystery in which everybody is lying about […]

The Existentialist Ex Machina

  Alex Garland’s Ex Machina is a masterful existentialist thriller that marries The Tempest with Blade Runner to create a science fiction film that maximizes the potential of the genre.  The film details a week in the life of Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a programmer who has recruited another programmer, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), from his Google-esque corporation in […]

The Flies, by Jean-Paul Sartre: Orestes And Christ As Existentialist Heroes

  Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Flies (or Les Mouches) adopts the classic Grecian narrative of Orestes and frames the famous matricidal hero as an existentialist incarnation of Christ, whereby he takes the sins of the people of Argos upon his shoulders to relieve them of the burden of their past.  Though the Christ analogy is problematic at […]

Jean-Paul Sartre’s Dirty Hands: The Fate Of An Objectivist Hero

  Jean-Paul Sartre’s Dirty Hands tells the story of an objectivist hero, Hugo who goes through an existentialist struggle, trying to shed the identity that is projected onto him by others, whilst defining himself on his own terms. The play’s conflict arises when Hugo meets his antagonist, Hoederer, who shares the same goals but is more […]

Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit: If Dante Were An Existentialist

  In his play Huis Clos, often translated into English as No Exit or In Chambers, Jean-Paul Sartre wrote what is perhaps his most famous line: “Hell is—other people!” (45)  The line is loaded with existentialist implications speaking to how our social relations are often the bane of our existence, but the play does more […]

Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Respectful Prostitute (or The Friendly Whore): The Existentialist Construction or Racism

Note: This post is a review of a play that speaks to racial tensions in the southern United States during the 1940’s, and as such quotes a source text that uses pejorative terms based on perceived race.  The terms appear uncensored in this review in order to maintain the integrity of the source text.  This […]