On first reading the books , I was immediately struck by the great change of perspective between "Nausea" and "the Roads to Freedom" trilogy.
Nausea - which from a literary perspective is by far my favourite - takes place completely within Roquentin's consciousness and is concerned (I think!) with the contradiction between the reality of world and the way humans believe it is structured. For example, Roquentin believes initially that reality consists of Platonic essences, the Autodidact thinks knowledge is structured alphabetically in the form of a library collection and Annie believes that life comprises a series of 'perfect moments'. All are shown to be false .
With Roads to Freedom Sartre moves out from the individual philosophical consciousness into the world of the human tragedy and politics. I haven't read a critique of any of the books but I think a close reading of the trilogy would reveal the genisis of Sartre's move away from Being and Nothingness towards the Critique.
I too found 'The Reprieve' a hard read. I know he borrowed the switching viewpoint from Dos Pasos, but I wondered whether he hadn't adopted the style to keep the reader constantly focussed on the devloping narratives. If you don't keep the various narrative strands in memory, then you have to flip back to remind yourself of what had happened previously.
On a more philosophical level, the narrative encompasses a series of multiple consciousness functioning simultaneously; something that Being and Nothingness allows for but does not replicate.
I'd be interested to hear what his aims were in writing the books.
, "scarey1917" <scarey1917@y...> wrote:
> I'm re-reading Sartre's trilogy of novels "The Roads to Freedom." I
> liked the first installment: "The Age of Reason." It takes place over a
> three day period, and is written in a tradition way, with events taking
> place one after another. But in the second volume, "The Reprieve", he
> changes style. There he's into a "stream of consciousness" and a
> "simultaneous" mode that drives the reader crazy. In the course of a
> single sentence, for example,the scene might shift from one character
> to another. Often times one doesn't know which character's head one is
> in. I keep thinking to myself: if I'm going to work this hard reading a
> book, it ought to be nonfiction! Any observations on these books?