The Philosophy of Sartre: The Best Introductory Resources

Lennox Johnson Resources

This page features a collection of the best resources on Sarte. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on Sarte. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about him.

To get started, simply choose one of the links below:

If you want an academic overview of Sartre:

“Sartre (1905–1980) is arguably the best known philosopher of the twentieth century. His indefatigable pursuit of philosophical reflection, literary creativity and, in the second half of his life, active political commitment gained him worldwide renown, if not admiration. He is commonly considered the father of Existentialist philosophy, whose writings set the tone for intellectual life in the decade immediately following the Second World War. Among the many ironies that permeate his life, not the least is the immense popularity of his scandalous public lecture “Existentialism is a Humanism,” delivered to an enthusiastic Parisian crowd October 28, 1945. Though taken as a quasi manifesto for the Existentialist movement, the transcript of this lecture was the only publication that Sartre openly regretted seeing in print. And yet it continues to be the major introduction to his philosophy for the general public. One of the reasons both for its popularity and for his discomfort is the clarity with which it exhibits the major tenets of existentialist thought while revealing Sartre’s attempt to broaden its social application in response to his Communist and Catholic critics. In other words, it offers us a glimpse of Sartre’s thought “on the wing.” . . .”

If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:

If you’d prefer a video introduction:

If you prefer audio and podcasts:

Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the best books on or by Jean-Paul Sartre.

For more introductory philosophy resources and reading lists check out this collection of Resources and Reading Lists.