University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309
Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520
Hazel Estella Barnes (December 16, 1915 – March 18, 2008) was an American philosopher, author, and translator. Best known for her popularization of existentialism in America, Barnes translated the works of Jean-Paul Sartre as well as writing original works on the subject. After earning her Ph.D. in Classics from Yale in 1941, she spent much of her career at the University of Colorado. In 1979, Barnes became the first woman to be named Distinguished Professor at CU-Boulder. In recognition of her long tenure and service to the University, in 1991 CU established the Hazel Barnes Prize for faculty who best embody "the enriching interrelationship between teaching and research." In 1962, Barnes was the host of a television series -- "Self Encounter: A Study in Existentialism"—which ran for 10 episodes and appeared on National Public Television.
Her autobiography, The Story I Tell Myself : A Venture in Existentialist Autobiography, was published in 1997.
Barnes recounts in her autobiography taking on the translation of Being and Nothingness unexpectedly. Writing to the main American publisher of existentialist writers with a book proposal on the general topic, Barnes received a reply that included an invitation to engage in the translation. She took the publishers up on the offer, thinking it might be a good way to familiarize herself with Sartre's thought. "I was quite casual about it all ...." she writes, "[never asking myself] whether with only three years of badly taught high school French and one yearlong course in college, and a bare minimum of background in philosophy, I was qualified to do the task."
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Yale University, New Haven, CT