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Grant number: FB-10584-70

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James W. Greenlee
California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA 91125-0001)

The Ascetic Atheist of French Existentialism

ABSTRACT: Study, in plays and prose fictions of Jean Anouilh, Albert Camus, Andre Malraux and Jean-Paul Sartre, of a prevalent type of character, the "ascetic atheist." As an ascetic, he rejects material values; as an atheist, traditional religious values. He tends to find in capitalism and religion the source of social injustice. Examples of the ascetic atheist, represented both sympathetically and critically, appeared within the existential search for a humanistic foundation of values in the decades immediately preceding and following World War II, but the characters had all but disappeared by 1958 while the abuses their creators opposed persisted. Ascetic atheist represented a protest rather than a reform--seemingly the authors had no viable values to erect in the place of those they denounced. Fellow to do research in Paris.

Project fields:
Literature, General

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$9,500 (approved)
$9,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/1970 – 6/30/1971