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Losing the Light

Michael Wood: Memories of Camus

19 August 2010
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 ...

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 AlbertCamus 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 ...

France for Boys

Frederick Seidel

21 July 2005
... summer clouds squatted over Diên Biên Phú. It must be 1954 because you soil yourself and give up hope but don’t. The boys are reading L’Etranger as summer reading. My country, ’tis of thee, AlbertCamus! 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 ...

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 ...
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 AlbertCamus 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. At the Nobel ceremony, however, he was harangued by an FLN enthusiast and forced ...

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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... delivers a mind-numbing tract on grain and grape harvests the previous year. At the end he announces he’ll be back shortly with more of the same once the session on the citrus harvest opens. When AlbertCamus 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 ...


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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... we have a famous Italian Communist, Antonio Gramsci, and a famous Italian ex-Communist, Ignazio Silone. After this, George Orwell is discussed with special attention to The Lion and the Unicorn and AlbertCamus 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 ...

The Makers

David Harsent

19 September 1996
... a mere face in the crowd, who fell or stepped onto the rail, and was brought back up broken, wide-eyed, a fallen angel, and passed, like our best ambitions, from soiled hand to soiled hand, and took AlbertCamus who dressed me in black and told me to grow a beard and pronounced me an Existentialist through tears of laughter, and took Sigmund Freud who sat at my shoulder throughout one bookblind summer ...


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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... front, Kundera in midfield, Sam Beckett ‘in the hole’. They like to assure you that Gunter Netzer’s 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: AlbertCamus, Algerian goalie and French Existentialist, never took a penalty but it ...

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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... British names are none too familiar. Sir Arthur Helps, with 33 extracts from Essays Written in the intervals 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 ...

America Deserta

Richard Poirier

16 February 1989
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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... a metaphoric past called ‘Europe’, and just about anything at all can be said about it. This is apparent enough even in the unnecessary little gathering, with its wholly haphazard annotation, of AlbertCamus’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 ...
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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... the work that these two did deceives himself and others. The spiritual world in which we ourselves exist is to a large extent a world formed by Marx and Nietzsche.’ And some three decades later AlbertCamus 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 ...

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 AlbertCamus’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 ...

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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... that nearly got him killed by an OAS bomb planted outside his flat. He contributed fiery prefaces not 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 ...

One Big Murder Mystery

Adam Shatz: The Algerian army’s leading novelist

7 October 2004
The Swallows of Kabul 
by Yasmina Khadra, translated by John Cullen.
Heinemann, 195 pp., £10.99, May 2004, 9780434011414
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Wolf Dreams 
by Yasmina Khadra, translated by Linda Black.
Toby, 272 pp., $19.95, May 2003, 1 902881 75 3
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by Yasmina Khadra, translated by David Herman.
Toby, 137 pp., £7.95, May 2004, 1 59264 035 4
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... Michiko Kakutani conceded ‘just how deeply flawed The Swallows is as a piece of storytelling’, but placed Khadra’s ‘chilling portrait of fundamentalism’ squarely ‘in the tradition of AlbertCamus’. In every review, it is dutifully reported that Moulessehoul took his feminine nom de plume to avoid military censorship, and that he lives ‘in exile’ in southern France. The impression ...

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