The Family Idiot

The Family Idiot
An approachable abridgment of Sartre's important analysis of Flaubert.

From 1981 to 1994, the University of Chicago Press published a five-volume translation of Jean-Paul Sartre's The Family Idiot: Gustave Flaubert, 1821-1857, a sprawling masterwork by one of the greatest intellects of the twentieth century. This new volume delivers a compact abridgment of the original by renowned Sartre scholar, Joseph Catalano.

Sartre claimed that his existential approach to psychoanalysis required a new Freud, and in his study of Gustave Flaubert, Sartre becomes that Freud. The work summarizes Sartre's overarching aim to reveal that human life is a meaningful adventure of freedom. In discussing Flaubert's work, particularly his classic novel Madame Bovary, Sartre unleashes a fierce critique of modernity as nihilistic and demeaning of human dignity.

Publication Date: 
January 19, 2023