Murakami, Obama, Sarkozy: What is an Intellectual?

O'Donohoe, Benedict (2011) Murakami, Obama, Sarkozy: What is an Intellectual? In: Boulé, J-P (ed.) Jean-Paul Sartre: Mind and Body, Word and Deed. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 149-163. ISBN 9781443829496

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The focus of this chapter is on the three lectures that Sartre gave in Japan during his visit there with Simone de Beauvoir in autumn 1966, "Apologia for the Intellectual". Following the contours of Sartre's own enquiry, it asks first what was the critical understanding and reception of his lectures? Next, to what extent can the politician be an intellectual, and vice-versa? Finally, in what sense is the writer an intellectual? By analysing certain key passages in Sartre's texts, I address the second of these questions with passing reference to Presidents Sarkozy and Obama. The third question about the writer-qua-intellectual focuses on the hybrid text "Underground" by Haruki Murakami, in which the well-known contemporary novelist appears to be re-casting himself in the mould of the public intellectual, much like Sartre himself (whom Murakami admires) had done half-a-century earlier. Indeed, Murakami's strategy seems to exemplify the role of the writer-as-intellectual just as Sartre defined it in his third Japan lecture. Thus, the chapter weaves together the strands of Sartre, ideology and politics in the appropriate context of a modern Japanese cultural phenomenon.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This chapter grew out of a paper given at Rikkyo University, Tokyo, during the annual conference of the Japanese Society for Sartre Studies (AJES) in July 2009, within the frame of AHRC-sponsored "workshops" in Tokyo and London, under the over-arching title of "Sartre, Ideology and Politics".
Schools and Departments: School of English > Sussex Centre for Language Studies
Depositing User: Benedict O'Donohoe
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:45
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2012 12:04
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