Sartre – Mathilde Ramadier

sartreSartre by Mathilde Ramadier

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
First Published: September 1st, 2017
Publisher: NBM Publishing
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Graphic Biography, Philosophy, Existentialism, Relationships, Modern Life


For some he was the philosopher of existentialism, for others the constant provocateur, the politically engaged author, the uncertain militant, the repenting bourgeois, the life companion of Simone de Beauvoir… From his first readings in the Luxembourg Garden to his refusal of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Jean Paul Sartre was all of this at the same time. In his biographic piece, the life and thoughts that made Sartre a known name are brought to print in rich color.


What a confusing biography. It doesn’t help that the subjects themselves (Sartre – philosophy – existentialism) are complex and require someone’s entire attention.

You’d think a graphic novel shouldn’t be this confusing. After all, with a graphic novel you are able to see as well as read, but because the author and illustrator are limited by the panels, they must make choices as to what is included and what is dismissed.

To me this read like multiple transcribed conversations between different people in Sartre’s life and Sartre himself. The visuals were never important. What do I care that Simone is the most beautiful women you’ve laid eyes on? It doesn’t help me understand what existentialism is.

Sartre 1

If you’re looking for Sartre’s introspection, you might be at the right place, but if you’re looking for an accessible work on existentialism and how Sartre developed it, you are far from where you should be. Go back now before it’s too late.

I praise anyone who is able to understand this entire book. I don’t know how you do it. Perhaps you’ve read about Sartre and existentialism before. Nonetheless, I admire you as most of the time I read just for the sake of reading.

The thing is, I did find this graphic biography engaging. The illustrations are cute and the characters quite engaging. There are so many influential dead people in it, and this includes women, so how could I not be interested, truly? Sartre himself is quite the character. So I didn’t mind driving through a fog, but I wouldn’t recommend you buy this at all. Not even if it’s on sale.


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