At the Existentialist Café Setting & Symbolism

Sarah Bakewell
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Parisian Bars and Cafes

Though this tale takes place over many cities, countries, and even continents, Bakewell always returns to particular Parisian bars and cafes to symbolize the heart of existentialism. Initially, existentialism is born in one with a conversation between Beauvoir, Sartre, and Aron over cocktails. Years later, Beauvoir realizes the concept of specific nothingnesses when she notices the sudden absence of two Czech women at the cafe she frequents. This type of specific nothingness lays at the core of existentialism. Finally, when Bakewell describes the past of existentialism nostalgically, she flashes back to “images of the pipe-puffing Sartre at his cafe table” (317).

Coffee

Closely tied with the symbol of Parisian cafes, coffee is used to symbolize phenomenology. Husserl initially introduced the example of sipping a cup of coffee as the perfect opportunity to use the method of phenomenology. He attempts to strip all subjectivity from his...

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This section contains 997 words
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Buy the At the Existentialist Caf Study Guide
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