Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jean-Paul Sarte (for Jean-Paul Sartre)

L'écrivain doit donc refuser de se laisser transformer en institution.

(A writer must refuse, therefore, to allow himself to be transformed into an institution.)

Jean-Paul Sartre, refusing the Nobel Prize

In 1964 the philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre declined the Nobel Prize in Literature. Sartre was the second author to refuse this laurel, after Boris Pasternak in 1958.

The Swedish Academy still considered the prize to be valid even though they could not present it to him at the awards banquet. Sartre’s name is included (with the correct spelling, of course) on the Noble Prize in Literature winners list.

Although "Sarte" places as only a moderate probability typing error on the Ballard list, when it does occur it provides quite the barrier to information access. A search for (Sarte and “Jean-Paul”) returns 41 hits in WorldCat. Over 25% of the typos are in the title field, with many others in the subject headings and contents notes--the latter often being the only access point for a book of papers that includes an essay by or about the esteemed Existentialist.

Leanne Olson

(Photograph of Sartre from Encyclopedia Britannica Online)

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