Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sartre at The Cornerhouse


Looking at my classics list makes me think of Sartre's auto-didact in Nausea. He would have had no trouble wondering where to begin. Simply start at A and work your way through to Z.

Although I've never read Nausea, I do have a certain affection for the book.  Back in the late 1980s I was an impressionable undergraduate student at the University of Salford.

This was where I met my husband, although we were part of the same social circle, rather than an 'item' in our student days. One of his favourite haunts was The Cornerhouse on Manchester's Oxford Road. Independent cinema, gallery and bar, it was the 'arty' place to be, where the clever girls with very red lipstick used to hang out.  He liked to strike a pose there, smoking Camel cigarettes, casually displaying his copy of Nausea.

As a down-to-earth comprehensive-school-educated Northern lass, pretention didn't come easily to me. I fell asleep watching Jean de Florette, and seldom wore  any lipstick at all. This Nausea-toting young man was the only Salford student I knew with a copy of Mary Warnock's Existentialism on his bookshelf. I was mightily impressed.

Only later did he confess that the Warnock book had mystified him and he hadn't got past the first page. But by then, the damage was done.

Still, I don't hold it against him, and I've never read the Warnock book either.

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