Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sartre and the Four Ages of Man

Was Jean-Paul Sartre's trilogy (intended as a tetralogyThe Roads to Freedom (Les chemins de la liberté) inspired in part by the four stages of man/stages of life in Hinduism? The three published novels were L'âge de raison (The Age of Reason), Le sursis (The Reprieve), and La mort dans l'âme (Troubled Sleep or Iron in the Soul or, more literally, Death in the Soul). The fourth novel, La dernière chance (The Last Chance), was never finished, though two chapters were published in 1949 in Sartre's magazine Les Temps modernes under the title Drôle d'amitié (Strange Friendship). The four Hindu ages are Brahmacharya (the celibate student, up to age 25), Grihastha (the married family man, up to around age 50), Vanaprastha (the hermit in retreat), and Sannyasa (the wandering recluse).

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