The Words

Ranked #67 in Existentialism

Jean-Paul Sartre's famous autobiography of his first ten years has been widely compared to Rousseau's Confessions. Written when he was fifty-nine years old, The Words is a masterpiece of self-analysis. Sartre the philosopher, novelist and playwright brings to his own childhood the same rigor of honesty and insight he applied so brilliantly to other authors. Born into a gentle, book-loving family and raised by a widowed mother and doting grandparents, he had a childhood which might be described as one long love affair with the printed word. Ultimately, this book explores and evaluates the... more

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of The Words from the world's leading experts.

Eva Hoffman The Words is a memoir of Sartre’s childhood. It takes him up to the age of 10, and it is a brilliant piece of self-analysis. (Source)

Richard Wolin This is his autobiography and is a wonderful example of Sartre’s excellence as a prose writer. It brims with self-knowledge and self-criticism too. (Source)

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