I'm working on an english project on Existentialism, and my job is to find and explain quotes from Existentialist literature. I already have a quote from Nausea by Jean-Paul Sarte that I will include at the bottom, but I am having trouble finding other quotes. Could anyone help? Ideally the quote would be from Either/Or by Kierkegaard, buy others are fine too. Thanks!

“For the moment, the jazz is playing; there is no melody, just notes, a myriad of tiny tremors. The notes know no rest, an inflexible order gives birth to them then destroys them, without ever leaving them the chance to recuperate and exist for themselves.... I would like to hold them back, but I know that, if I succeeded in stopping one, there would only remain in my hand a corrupt and languishing sound. I must accept their death; I must even want that death: I know of few more bitter or intense impressions. (Sartre 345)”

  • 1
    The Worlds of Existentialism: A Critical Reader, Maurice S. Friedman (ed.), NY:Random House,1964; some 560 pages of excerpts from an extended range of authors
    – sand1
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 20:46

3 Answers 3


From Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus": "The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

From Camus'"The Stranger": "I looked up at the mass of signs and stars in the night sky and laid myself open for the first time to the benign indifference of the world."

From Sartre's, the chapters "Bad Faith and Falsehood", and "The Look".

From Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanis": "There is no other universe except the human universe, the universe of human subjectivity. This relation of transcendence as constitutive of man (not in the sense that God is transcendent, but in the sense of self-surpassing) with subjectivity (in such a sense that man is not shut up in himself but forever present in a human universe) – it is this that we call existential humanism. This is humanism, because we remind man that there is no legislator but himself; that he himself, thus abandoned, must decide for himself; also because we show that it is not by turning back upon himself, but always by seeking, beyond himself, an aim which is one of liberation or of some particular realization, that man can realize himself as truly human."


Specifically from Either/Or, and resonant with your Sartre quote:

What is a poet? An unhappy man who conceals profound anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so fashioned that when sighs and groans pass over them they sound like beautiful music.
- "Diapsalmata"

So the richest personality is nothing before he has chosen himself; and … the poorest personality is everything when he has chosen himself, for the greatness is not to be this or that but to be oneself, and every human being can be this if he so wills it.
- Hong translation.

Quotes retrieved from https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Either/Or


Sartre : 'Hell is other people' (from Huis Clos/ No Exist) 1943.

Heidegger : 'Everyone is the other, and no one is himself' (Being & Time, 1927).

Heidegger : ‘The Nothing itself noths' (Feiburg Inaugural).

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