Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

One point needs to be cleared up. Who finances the existentialists of the Bar Vert? Poor they may be and disdainful of material matters, but it must be at least necessary that they are provided with the vital fundamentals without which they would be condemned to . . . die open mouthed. From where do they get the vital cash?

Nobody will tell you in Saint Germain-des-Pres. Nobody knows anything. The existentialists themselves don't know the answer. They sell some books, run up some debts, act as some valet in a Sartre play and bury some poor old aunt who forgot to disinherit them.

Perhaps at the end of the day it is enough to be an existentialist to exist . . .

From Boris Vian: manuel de Saint-Germain-des-Pres, edited by Noel Arnaud, (Chene)

(Research by Kate Oldfield)