Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

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16 July 1951

The existentialists. There has never been a term so far removed from what it means. To be an existentialist is to do nothing but spend one's time drinking in the little cellars. The relativistes live like this in New York dancing in cellars believing that Einstein is dancing with them. Sartre is not responsible for this phenomenon. He has the most elevated mind, the truest heart, the most noble soul that I know. He detests idleness. When we are together we often wonder at the peculiar path his school chooses to follow.

In Sicily, on the mountain so-called 'plaine des Grecs', where one only communicates with the Italians in a sort of incomprehensible Albanian, someone told me, through the medium of an interpreter, that he was

going to set up an existentialist club.

From Le Passe Defini Vol. 1, by Jean Cocteau (Gallimard, Paris 1983)

(Research by Kate Oldfield)

(Photograph omitted)