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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life--Which book was so far over your head you almost didn’t come up? (254 comments)

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  •  No Exit - Age attempted? About 16 (5+ / 0-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    No Exit (French: Huis Clos) is a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The original title is the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, referring to a private discussion behind closed doors; English translations have also been performed under the titles In Camera, No Way Out, Vicious Circle, Behind Closed Doors, and Dead End. The play was first performed at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in May 1944.

    It is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity, and is the source of one of Sartre's most famous and most often misinterpreted quotations, l'enfer, c'est les autres ("Hell is other people"), usually taken to refer to people in general, but in the context of the play it becomes clear that it means that certain other people can be the most effective form of hell.

    When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:01:20 AM PST

    •  Thanks for your interesting comment, msmacgyver (4+ / 0-)

      Not familiar with the play, but it sounds thought-provoking.

      LOL, I think Sartre might have been on to something--"Hell is other people."  I've certainly felt that way in the past, when I was stuck in an office with some very unsimpatico people.

      Glad you stopped by!

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:51:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for your reply and (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, annieli, Brecht

        for this fascinating Diary.

        I'm 60ish and have not thought about this particular literary stone wall for a very long time.  No Exit jumped to my mind immediately.  

        When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

        by msmacgyver on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 10:39:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was in that play in college (5+ / 0-)

      and by closing night I came to think it one of the best-constructed pieces of literature ever. The famous line you quote above is what people remember, but for me what sticks [maybe because I delivered it] is the chilling last line:

      "Well, let's get on with it, then."  

      into the blue again, after the money's gone

      by Prof Haley on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:22:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I had this assigned by a Jesuit in soph (5+ / 0-)

      "metaphysics" class, which he turned into a seminar in existentialism.  I think he wanted us to question our faith (Sartre, Camus, "The Grand Inquisitor," Nietzsche, etc.) but then follow Kierkegaard into his "leap of faith." I got as far as thinking Ivan Karamazov and Nietzsche had it about right and never got around to making the leap.  

      •  I'm impressed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, Brecht

        I took on No Exit when I was about 16.  I wasn't motivated by anyone or anything, it was just a random selection from the Library where I spent an inordinate amount of time.

        Like many kids growing up in the early 60's, the choices for entertainment were limited.  Our local library was safe, quiet and easy for me to get to on the bus.  I was a book junkie and tasted all kinds of delights.  

        I finally got around to Sartre in college but only in passing.  I think it's time for me to get a copy of No Exit and try it again.

        When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

        by msmacgyver on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 04:56:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ah the Jesuits (0+ / 0-)

        are good for that. (I graduated from a Jesuit university).

        Only at a Jesuit University would you get a mix like that. Or, as happened in my class, a mix of Plato, Job, the Bhagavad Gita, and Ernest Hemingway (with a good measure of Shakespeare thrown in) and it all makes sense!

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