Review by Choice Review

Keefe analyzes the moral perspectives of Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Camus in some 18 works. He does so by dividing the works into three groups: those that belong to the preWW II period; those that were influenced by the war; those of the postwar period. He finds that the moral perspectives they reveal tend to respond to metaphysical, historical, or familial preoccupations. The protagonists were first solitary individuals searching for metaphysical answers in their moral solitude. History in the form of the war forced them to confront the necessity of blind loyalty to society. After the war, the characters attempt to assimilate themselves into a group, most frequently the family, where they must face the necessity of mutual assistance in collective situations of their own choice. The problem with such an approach is that it creates the impression that all these works are of equal literary merit. Nevertheless, the author reveals clearly the evolution of the moral perspectives of these three important and representative writers at a crucial time in the history of French literature. The work will be useful to graduate students and upper-division undergraduates.-F.C. St. Aubyn, formerly University of Pittsburgh

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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