Sarah Bakewell Writing Styles in At the Existentialist Café

Sarah Bakewell
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Structure

This book’s fourteen chapters feature no consistent pattern. Their lengths vary greatly, as well as their content. While some chapters are characterized by their analysis of one theme, others are dedicated to a single characters. Others seem to be groupings of events in the same general time period, with no relation past that. Most of the chapters are titled artistically, often named after a single detail discussed within the chapter. For example, Chapter 1 is titled “Sir,. What a Horror, Existentialism!” and Chapter 5 is titled “To Crunch Flowering Almonds.” This pattern doesn’t hold consistent, either— Chapter 8 is simply titled “Devastation.”

Bakewell introduces and discusses a number of plot lines, but it is unclear where each begins and ends. She follows the lives of tens of characters. Some are central, like Sartre or Heidegger, while others may get a sentence here or there, whenever it seems relevant...

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This section contains 725 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the At the Existentialist Caf Study Guide
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