In the interchanges of the literary and the biographical, we are interested in shedding light on the Sartrian concept of “existential psychoanalysis” - a method that aims to understand the psychic constitution of the individual from his socio-historical reality. Gustave Flaubert is the concrete case on which Sartre focuses in the meticulous effort to demonstrate his “treatise”. The little Gustave resists all the attempts of those who set about the difficult task of teaching him to read. Regarded as incapable: “you will be the idiot in the Family”, he chooses passivity and inertia as a means of adapting to a world that appears hateful to him. Acting as an actor, the boy plunges into the imaginary world of representation, both in his life and in his projects, embodying the Sartrian maxim expressed in Jean Genet’s study: “what matters is not what they make of us, but what we ourselves make of what they have made of us”.
Sartre; Flaubert; imaginary; existential psychoanalysis