Books: Existentialist Purgatory

THE AGE OF REASON (397 pp.)—Jean-Paul Sartre—translated by Eric Sutton —Knopf ($3).

What is existentialism? As far as most Americans are concerned, it is the latest incomprehensible fashion from France. U.S. audiences now have a thorough chance to sample the brew that has been boiling furiously in Europe's intellectual teapots. The pontiff and leading practitioner of existentialism is France's stubby (5 ft.), scholarly Jean-Paul Sartre. His Age of Reason is a dolorous, idea-clotted novel full of moldy characters and philosophic yawpings about life. It is sure to win its author some critical praise....

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