After the initial surprise this sort of news causes, I felt a resigned melancholy at the death of Jean-Paul Sartre. I was living in Paris during those years after World War II when his glory and influence were at their height. Sartre bore his fame simply and with good humor. Despite the fact that the sanctimoniousness of many of his admirers—especially the Latin Americans, as always avid for “up-to-date” philosophies—was at once irritating and comic, his truly philosophic simplicity disarmed even the most reticent. In those years, reading him both enraged and impassioned me. One of his qualities was to arouse both rejection and assent in his readers, with equal violence. Many times, in the course of my reading, I regretted not knowing him personally, so as to tell him of my doubts and disagreements. Happenstance gave me that opportunity.
A friend, who had been sent to Paris by our University [of Mexico] to complete his studies in philosophy, told me he was i...
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