Wednesday, March 26, 2008


"The other departure from contemporary English is my use of 'irreal' and 'irreality', which are not English words at all. They are my rendering of the French adjective and noun 'irréel' usually translated as 'unreal' and 'unreality'. but these would be misleading here. Sartre's use of 'irréel' here seems to follow one sense of Husserl's 'irreal' . Since Husserl's term is usually rendered into English as 'irreal', my rendering of Sartre's term preserves the connection. Further, Sartre's 'irréel' does not denote, as 'unreal' seems to, the class of objects that could exist but do not. Rather, an irreal object in this work is an object as imagined by consciousness. This object may be real: the irreal Pierre may be the real Pierre as imaged. Conversely, unreal objects that are never imaged will never be irreal. Finally, Sartre employs the verb 'to irrealize', even opening the work by describing the imagination as 'the great "irrealizing' function of consciousness". To translate 'irrealize' here as 'unrealize' might be taken to imply that Sartre considered the imagination to be the function of removing items from reality, or considering real items as unreal. Although from about the middle of the work Sartre contrasts this use of 'irrealizing' with the 'realizing' function of perception, it is by this point abundantly clear that contrast is between the kind of consciousness that constitutes an object as 'irreal' and the kind that constitutes an object as 'real'. "(from The Imaginary by Jean-Paul Sartre/ Notes on the translation xxviii)

- See: Terms

:: note :: ... wanted to add something about irreal consciousness to the value of theater ... theater is active irreal consciousness ... the living action ...