By John Foley

Adopting an interdisciplinary procedure, encompassing philosophy, literature, politics and heritage, John Foley examines the entire breadth of Camus' principles to supply a finished and rigorous research of his political and philosophical proposal and an important contribution to a number debates present in Camus study. Foley argues that the coherence of Camus' inspiration can top be understood via an intensive realizing of the recommendations of 'the absurd' and 'revolt' in addition to the relation among them. This ebook features 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 present postcolonial critique of Camus' humanism, and a sustained research of Camus' most vital and regularly missed paintings, L'Homme révolté (The Rebel).

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Extra resources for Albert Camus: From the Absurd to Revolt

Example text

And to have instilled despair into a young heart is fouler than the foulest crimes he has committed up to now. I assure you, that alone would justify me in killing him out of hand” (COP: 87; TRN: 84). At the heart of the play is a dialogue between Cherea and Caligula, in which the former tells the emperor both that “I understand you far too well”, and that he regards him as “noxious and cruel, vain and selfish . . a constant menace”. He explains his objection to Caligula’s nihilism thus: I like, and need, to feel secure.

He tried to be a just man” (COP: 42; TRN: 19). However, Caligula’s character appears transformed by the death of Drusilla. In fact, Caligula claimed to be less affected by her death itself than by “the truth” her death revealed: a “childishly simple, obvious, almost silly truth, but one that’s hard to come by and heavy to endure”, the truth that “men die, and they are not happy” (COP: 40; TRN: 16). Drusilla’s death, and his irrational desire to recover her, provokes in Caligula a sudden awareness of the absurd, “that divorce between the mind that desires and the world that disappoints” (MS: 40; E: 135).

Already, in The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus had suggested a distinction: There is hope and hope. To me the optimistic work of Henri Bordeaux seems peculiarly discouraging. This is because it has nothing for the discriminating. Malraux’s thought on the other hand is always bracing. But in these two cases neither the same hope nor the same despair is at issue. (MS: 120; E: 208) Here, Camus is explicitly calling for a distinction between two forms of hope. Whereas he associates certain expressions of hope with Kierkegardian philosophical suicide, a type of hope we could perhaps call “infinite” hope, it seems clear that Camus had in mind the possibility of there being another type of hope – a kind of hope that, although not permitting an escape from the absurd confrontation between the individual and his world, nevertheless has philosophical or ethical significance for “finite” humankind living in lucid awareness of the absurd.

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