An Alienated Life; An Untimely Death - Albert Camus' "The First Man"
jeu. 13 septembre à 01:00
“Poverty is a fortress without drawbridges.” So wrote Albert Camus in "The First Man", his last novel - incomplete at the time of his untimely death in 1960 at the age of 46, in a car accident. It was later transcribed by his daughter, Catherine, from Camus' handwritten notes, and published in 1994. It is described as "perhaps the most honest book Camus ever wrote, and the most sensual", by The New Yorker... a "masterpiece" by The Boston Globe"... and as "a kind of magical Rosetta stone to Camus's entire career, illuminating both his life and his work with stunning candor and passion" by Michiko Kakutani, in The New York Times. The autobiographical nature of the novel is transparently disguised behind his alter ego, Jacques Cormery. It follows Jacques (Camus) from the early days of his childhood as a young boy, "... his schooldays, the life of the body, the power of the sun and the sea, the painful love of a son for his mother, the search for a lost father. But it is also about the history of a colonial people in a vast and not always hospitable African landscape, about the complex relationship of a "mother" country to its colonists, and about the intimate effects of war and political revolution" [Wikipedia]. The real Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. During World War II, he joined the Resistance movement in Paris, then became editor-in-chief of the newspaper Combat during the Liberation. A novelist, playwright, and essayist, he is most famous for his novels "The Stranger" and "The Plague". He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. We read "The Plague" in November 2015. Camus' Legacy His writings, which addressed themselves mainly to the isolation of man in an alien universe, the estrangement of the individual from himself, the problem of evil, and the pressing finality of death, accurately reflected the alienation and disillusionment of the postwar intellectual. He is remembered, with Sartre, as a leading practitioner of the existential novel. Though he understood the nihilism of many of his contemporaries, Camus also argued the necessity of defending such values as truth, moderation, and justice. In his last works he sketched the outlines of a liberal humanism that rejected the dogmatic aspects of both Christianity and Marxism. We will be led in this reading by William. Join us.
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