Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Sartre’s Search for a Title: from Melancholia to Nausea

Jean-Paul Sartre had thought of giving the name Melancholia to the novel on which he was working during the 1930s. But Gaston Gallimard, the book's publisher, felt that Melancholia was not commercial enough. He advised Sartre to find a better title. Sartre suggested Factum on Contingency as an alternative. This had been the title that he had given to his early notes for the book in 1932. He also came up with a longer title, Essay on the Loneliness of the Mind. But Gallimard was not enthused by these titles. Sartre then suggested another title: The Extraordinary Adventures of Antoine Roquentin. He told Gallimard that the blurb would offer an explanation of there being no adventures. After pondering for a few days, Gallimard came up with his own suggestion: Nausea. Sartre liked the suggestion and Nausea became the title of his book which got published in 1938.

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