Existentialism, Camus and you

‘I had become fascinated by him [Jean Paul Sartre] a year earlier.  On a whim, I spent some of my sixteenth-birthday money on his 1938 novel Nausea, mainly because I liked the Salvador Dali image on the Penguin cover: a bile-green rock formation and a dripping watch.  I also liked the cover blurb, which called Nausea ‘a novel of the alienation of personality and the mystery of being.’  -Sarah Bakewell, the author of The Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails (New York, 2016)

Yes, the title of this post includes Camus, not Sartre, but given how many of you read, enjoy and write about Camus’ novel, ‘L’Etranger, I think you might find this book of some interest over the summer, when you have more time to read. Very often students writing about Camus have some pretty limited ideas about existentialism, as well as its who, what, where and when.  This study is a good read and a solid introduction to Camus, Sartre, and de Beauvoir (among others) that savvy university students should probably know about.  Check out your local library and see if it might interest you….and at least read the first chapter which will set you a little straighter about existentialism, and the seventh which introduces Camus to the circle of European philosophers that were developing their ideas in the 30s and 40s. Better yet, read the whole thing!

 

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