Which Is It?

If you have been or are going to be studying the work, L'Etranger by Albert Camus, one question that is very likely to come up as you discuss this novel is 'what is the "correct" translation into English of this title?' You might be interested to take a look at the following article from The Guardian. The issue of translation is a many-faceted one and the background to what your edition will be titled is addressed by Alice Kaplan. And if ...

Existentialism in brief

Just in case you're not willing or able to take on the whole of Sarah Blakewell's At the Existentialist Cafe, (New York, 2016) I thought I'd provide you easy access to some points from her summary on page on page 34.  Sometimes it's good to just have a solid reference point to play your ideas against, particularly if you are reading works by Sartre or Camus.  These, remember, are her 'take' on some important facets that she sees in the ...

Existentialism, Camus and you

'I had become fascinated by him 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 ...

Philosophy and Solitude (2)

The Enlightenment was an international movement which was made possible thanks to the numerous links and bonds established throughout Europe by a new generation of thinkers united against state despotism and church intolerance. Among them, Rousseau appeared like a dissident as he willingly chose to retreat from public life after his quarrel with his philosopher friends. This semi-voluntary solitude inspired his most intense works as he undertook to analyse and depict his inner nature away from the critical eyes of ...

Should we read Camus?

 Albert Camus died fifty years ago in an absurd car crash which froze his existentialist reputation for ever and left his philosophical rival, Jean-Paul Sartre, as the unchallenged spokesman of post-war French Philosophy. Camus has long suffered from a reductive reading of his works and a superficial appraisal of his contribution to the central ethical and political questions still at the heart of the human condition. Unlike his fellow-intellectuals, the author of The Outsider was not brought up in a ...