Extremely left-leaning French writer, public figure and ‘father’ of French existentialism (the idea that man is ‘condemned to be free’ in this absurd world, as there is no God, nor any transcendental standards or goals). It’s up to us to decide what kind of life we want to lead: a primitive one which goes along with pre-existing values, or a fulfilled one, where we create our own rules and value system and thus create our own selves. He made history by declining the Nobel Prize for Literature on principle, which only Leo Tolstoy had done before him1. In doing so, he announced that nobody deserves to be glorified in their own lifetime and, besides, he didn’t want to feel obliged to anyone.
1 Have I misunderstood here?