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Losing the Light

Michael Wood: Memories of Camus

19 August 2010
L’Eté 
by Albert Camus.
Gallimard, 192 pp., €18.50, February 2010, 978 2 07 012927 0
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Albert CamusSolitaire et Solidaire 
by Catherine Camus.
Lafon, 208 pp., £39.90, December 2009, 978 2 7499 1087 1
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Albert CamusElements of a Life 
by Robert Zaretsky.
Cornell, 200 pp., £16.50, March 2010, 978 0 8014 4805 8
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Albert CamusFils d’Alger 
by Alain Vircondelet.
Fayard, 396 pp., €19.90, January 2010, 978 2 213 63844 7
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... The last piece in L’Eté, a collection of Camus’s essays first published in 1954, ends on a characteristic note of risk and grandeur: ‘I have always had the impression of living on the high seas, threatened, at the heart of a royal happiness.’ The high seas and the happiness frame and reduce the threat, perhaps even make it part of the glamour, part of the flourish ...

Something Royal

John Sturrock

8 September 1994
Le Premier homme 
by Albert Camus.
Gallimard, 331 pp., frs 110, April 1994, 2 07 073827 2
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... It is all but thirty-five years since Albert Camus was killed, when the Facel Vega sports car in which he was a passenger went off the road between Sens and Paris. Among his things was found Le Premier homme, the manuscript he had been working on for nearly a year at the time of the accident and on which there was still some way to go ...

France for Boys

Frederick Seidel

21 July 2005
... hope but don’t. The boys are reading L’Etranger as summer reading. My country, ’tis of thee, Albert Camus! The host sprinted upstairs to grab his fellow existentialist – To drag him downstairs to the embassy’s July 4th garden party. The ambassador’s son died horribly the following year In a ski lodge ...

Bogey Man

Richard Mayne

15 July 1982
CamusA Critical Study of his Life and Work 
by Patrick McCarthy.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £12.50, April 1982, 0 241 10603 6
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Albert CamusA Biography 
by Herbert Lottman.
Picador, 753 pp., £3.95, February 1981, 0 330 26262 9
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The Narcissistic Text: A Reading of Camus’s Fiction 
by Brian Fitch.
Toronto, 128 pp., £12.25, April 1982, 0 8020 2426 2
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The Outsider 
by Albert Camus, translated by Joseph Laredo.
Hamish Hamilton, 96 pp., £5.95, April 1982, 0 241 10778 4
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... There are too many myths about Camus. One of the most persistent, first propagated in Britain by Cyril Connolly’s Introduction to the 1946 translation of L’Etranger, was that he ‘played a notable part in the French Resistance Movement’. The much-photographed figure in a trench coat, with Humphrey Bogart features, certainly looked like Hollywood’s idea of an underground hero ...
16 October 1997
Albert CamusA Life 
by Olivier Todd, translated by Benjamin Ivry.
Chatto, 420 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 7011 6062 4
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... By the time Albert Camus received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 the nuanced position he took on the Algerian revolution had caused a scandal in orthodox progressive circles. Camus kept as quiet as he could because he feared terrorist reprisals against his mother, who was still living in Algiers ...

The Castaway

Jeremy Harding: Algeria’s Camus

4 December 2014
Algerian Chronicles 
by Albert Camus, edited by Alice Kaplan, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Harvard, 224 pp., £11.95, November 2014, 978 0 674 41675 8
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Camus brûlant 
by Benjamin Stora and Jean-Baptiste Péretié.
Stock, 109 pp., €12.50, September 2013, 978 2 234 07482 8
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Meursault, contre-enquête 
by Kamel Daoud.
Actes Sud, 155 pp., €19, May 2014, 978 2 330 03372 9
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... he’ll be back shortly with more of the same once the session on the citrus harvest opens. When Albert Camus filed these pieces, he had already joined and left the Communist Party, where he got a sketchy education in the thrills and pitfalls of the militant’s life, plunging into agitprop theatre and play readings in the suburbs of Algiers. He ...

Complaining

Brian Barry

23 November 1989
The Company of Critics: Social Criticism and Political Commitment in the 20th Century 
by Michael Walzer.
Halban, 260 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 1 870015 20 7
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... After this, George Orwell is discussed with special attention to The Lion and the Unicorn and Albert Camus in relation to the Algerian war. The following three chapters are devoted to Simone de Beauvoir, Marcuse and Foucault. The last author (and the only live one) is the exiled Afrikaner Breyten Breytenbach. What do these writers have in common? One ...

The Makers

David Harsent

19 September 1996
... when even on pain of death I couldn’t have told you who in hell was Mahler or Rückert, and took Alberto Giacometti, who said, ‘The more I take away the bigger it gets,’ thereby explaining a lot and leaving me no way back, and took the distant greats like dominoes, not dearth but death, and took Serina Stocker, who taught me how to flay a hare (‘You ...

Heart-Stopping

Ian Hamilton

25 January 1996
Not Playing for Celtic: Another Paradise Lost 
by David Bennie.
Mainstream, 221 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 85158 757 8
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Achieving the Goal 
by David Platt.
Richard Cohen, 244 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 86066 017 7
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Captain’s Log: The Gary McAllister Story 
by Gary McAllister and Graham Clark.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 9781851587902
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Blue Grit: The John Brown Story 
by John Brown and Derek Watson.
Mainstream, 176 pp., £14.99, November 1995, 1 85158 822 1
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Kicking and Screaming: An Oral History of Football in England 
by Rogan Taylor and Andrew Ward.
Robson, 370 pp., £16.95, October 1995, 0 86051 912 0
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A Passion for the Game: Real Lives in Football 
by Tom Watt.
Mainstream, 316 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 1 85158 714 4
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... hairdo belongs in the same world as Gunter Grass’s prose. They know all about Nabokov and Camus, and not just because the pair of them kept goal. A recent new-wave soccer-book gives something of the flavour: Albert Camus, Algerian goalie and French Existentialist, never took a penalty but it would have been ...

Great Thoughts

E.S. Turner

7 May 1981
The Macmillan Treasury of Relevant Quotations 
edited by Edward Murphy.
Macmillan, 658 pp., £3.95, August 1980, 0 333 30038 6
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... of Business, was – but, of course – the clerk to the Privy Council who revised Prince Albert’s speeches for publication; those Essays were written in 1841. Another English philosopher whose name rings a slightly louder (and slightly cracked) bell is James Douglas, the Beaverbrook director who specialised in attacking books like The Well of ...

America Deserta

Richard Poirier

16 February 1989
America 
by Jean Baudrillard, translated by Chris Turner.
Verso, 129 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 86091 220 5
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America Observed: The Newspaper Years of Alistair Cooke 
by Ronald Wells.
Reinhardt, 233 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 1 871061 09 1
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American Journals 
by Albert Camus, translated by Hugh Levick.
Hamish Hamilton, 155 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 241 12621 5
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... apparent enough even in the unnecessary little gathering, with its wholly haphazard annotation, of Albert Camus’s American Journals, two-thirds of which are given to his trip to South America in 1949. The comments on a trip to the United States in 1946 deserve the consideration duly accorded a postcard from someone who feels compelled to send it. We are ...
19 September 1996
The Nietzsche Canon: A Publication History and Bibliography 
by William Schaberg.
Chicago, 297 pp., £29.95, March 1996, 0 226 73575 3
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... exist is to a large extent a world formed by Marx and Nietzsche.’ And some three decades later Albert Camus wrote: ‘In the history of the intelligence, with the exception of Marx, Nietzsche’s adventure has no equivalent; we shall never finish making reparation for the injustice done to him.’ Marx and Nietzsche: an odd but historically correct ...

Bound to be in the wrong

Jonathan Rée: Camus and Sartre

20 January 2005
Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It 
by Ronald Aronson.
Chicago, 291 pp., £23, February 2005, 0 226 02796 1
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... The heroes of Albert Camus’s books can be quite annoying: surly, self-dramatising Hamlets who like to think of themselves as strong, silent loners, wise to human folly. But although they are often arrogant, self-absorbed and predictable, they are also susceptible to the weather, and happy to be upstaged by unseasonable storms, torpid nights, fierce sunlight, or the chance of a swim in the limpid sea ...

One day I’ll tell you what I think

Adam Shatz: Sartre in Cairo

22 November 2018
No Exit: Arab Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre and Decolonisation 
by Yoav Di-Capua.
Chicago, 355 pp., £26, March 2018, 978 0 226 50350 9
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The Stillborn: Notebooks of a Woman from the Student-Movement Generation in Egypt 
by Arwa Salih, translated by Samah Selim.
Seagull, 163 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 0 85742 483 9
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... only to Fanon’s book, but to Léopold Sédar Senghor’s anthology of Négritude poets and to Albert Memmi’s Portrait of the Coloniser. ‘Your influence in this region is deeper and wider than that of any other writer,’ the Egyptian writer Ahmad ‘Abbas Salih told him. Fanon, alert to the transformation that had caused Sartre to replace the abstract ...

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