Albert Camus: From the Absurd to Revolt by John Foley

By John Foley

Adopting an interdisciplinary process, encompassing philosophy, literature, politics and background, John Foley examines the complete breadth of Camus' rules to supply a entire and rigorous research of his political and philosophical proposal and an important contribution to various debates present in Camus examine. Foley argues that the coherence of Camus' suggestion can top be understood via an intensive knowing of the suggestions of 'the absurd' and 'revolt' in addition to the relation among them. This ebook encompasses a precise dialogue of Camus' writings for the newspaper Combat, a scientific research of Camus' dialogue of the ethical legitimacy of political violence and terrorism, a reassessment of the existing postcolonial critique of Camus' humanism, and a sustained research of Camus' most vital and often missed paintings, L'Homme révolté (The Rebel).

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The magistrates had learned that I’d “displayed a lack of emotion” on the day of my mother’s funeral . . “it matters a great deal. ” (TO: 64; TRN: 1172) Initially he is concerned by Meursault’s unwillingness to recite conventional platitudes of grief and sorrow, but his attitude quickly turns to contempt when Meursault refuses to lie: “he asked me if he could say that I’d controlled my natural feelings” on the day of his mother’s funeral. “I said, ‘No. ”51 The lawyer’s disgust seems motivated less by Meursault’s behaviour at his mother’s funeral than by his apparent unwillingness to lie, to follow his lawyer’s implicit advice and say what he knew to be untrue in order to improve his chances in court.

8 The fundamental insight we see in both Letters to a German Friend and Camus’s writing in Combat is that the image of Sisyphus is only an inaccurate image of the human condition in that he is solitary, an insight reflected in the use, almost without exception, of “we” rather than “I” in both Letters to a German Friend and the Combat articles. The transposition of Sisyphus’s revolt against the gods onto the experience of the resistance of the French against Nazism, although it encouraged Camus to see Sisyphus’s revolt as no longer solitary, must also have given Camus’s journalistic voice a particularly appealing timbre.

The advent of Nazism led Camus to reflect on whether “if I had really approved of your reasoning, I ought to approve what you are doing”. He argued that the conclusion his Nazi interlocutor derived from the absurd (in this context, the lack of “ultimate” meaning) was nihilistic: “you therefore deduced the idea that everything was equivalent and that good and evil could be defined according to one’s wishes”, that “in the absence of any human or divine code the only values were those of the animal world – in other words, violence and cunning” and that “the only pursuit for the individual was the adventure of power and his only morality, the realism of conquests” (RRD: 27; E: 240).

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