Hazel E. Barnes

American Existentialist and Sartre Scholar


Barnes is best known as a Sartrean scholar and for her English translation(1956) of of Sartre's "Being and Nothingness." She is reknowned for her knowledge and grasp of the Sartrean system of philosophy and its phenomenological underpinnings.

Her own work consists of some forrays into the field of existential, aesthetic ethics, an area within that of ethical theory. Barnes followed up Sartre's unfulfilled wish of following up his Being with works on an "ethical plane."

Following in Sartre's idea of "being-for-itself," and using the ontology of radical freedom for her normative ethics, Hazel Barnes attempted, unsuccessfully in her book "An Existential Ethics" to concretely follow Sartre's train of thought on ethics.

Some of her other books touch on the notions of "literature as salvation," emotion and imagination, and some works on the classics, like "Hippolytus in Drama and Myth(1960).

Barnes received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1941, and has taught i such places as UNC, University of Colorado, and studied at the Guggenheim Institute as a fellow, in 1977-8. She lives in retirement in Colorado.

Some other works include:

  • The Literature of Possibility: a Study in Humanistic Existentialism(1959)
  • An Existential Ethic(1967)
  • Sartre(1973)
  • Sartre and Flaubert(1981)

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