A Commonplace Book

We were not unaware that a time would come when historians would be able to survey from all angles this stretch of time which we lived so feverishly minute by minute… But the irreversibility of our age belongs only to us. We had to save ourselves in this irreversible time. These events pounced upon us like thieves and we had to do our job in the face of the incomprehensible and untenable, to conjecture without evidence, to undertake in uncertainty and persevere without hope. Our age would be explained, but no one could keep it from having been inexplicable to us.

Jean Paul Sartre in What is Literature? (1948)

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