At the height of the Algerian war, Jean-Paul Sartre embarked on a fundamental reappraisal of his philosophical and political thought. The result was the Critique of Dialectical Reason, an intellectual masterpiece of the twentieth century, now republished in two volumes with major original introductions by Fredric Jameson. In it, Sartre set out the basic categories for the renovated theory of history that he believed was necessary for post-war Marxism. Sartre's formal aim was to establish the dialectical intelligibility of history itself, as what he called 'a totalisation without totaliser'. But, at the same time, his substantive concern was the structure of class struggle and the fate of the mass movements of popular revolt, from the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century to the Russian and Chinese revolutions in the twentieth: their ascent, stabilisation petrification and decline, in a world still overwhelmingly dominated by scarcity.
Jean-paul Sartre was born in Paris in 1905 and died in 1980. ini 1938 he published his first novel, Nausia, and in 1943 completed his major work in existential philosophy, Being and Nothingness. A prolific novelist and playwright, biographer of Genet and Baudilaire, and founde of the journal Les Temps Modernes, Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964, but turned it down. Sartre's increasingly political work after May 1968 was balanced by a monumental study of Flaubert. Also published by Verso are Sartre's Between Existentialism and Marxism, War Diaries, The Freud Scenario and Volume Two of the Critique of Dialectical Reason.