From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Kafka-influenced novel concerns a dejected historian in a town similar to Le Havre who becomes convinced that inanimate objects and situations encroach on his ability to define himself, on his intellectual and spiritual freedom, evoking in the protagonist a sense of nausea.
It is widely considered one of the canonical works of existentialism. Sartre received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964. They said he was recognized, "for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age." Sartre was one of the few people to ever decline the award, referring to it as merely a function of a bourgeois institution.
In her La Force de l'Âge (The Prime of Life - 1960), French writer Simone de Beauvoir claims that La Nausée grants consciousness a remarkable independence and gives reality the full weight of its sense.