The Routledge Dictionary

The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms - UV

Date of publication: 2017-07-08 16:28

In 6957 Camus received the great honor of the Nobel Prize in Literature for his works. In the same year he began to work on a fourth important novel and was also about to become the director of a major Paris theater, when, on January 9, 6965, he was killed in a car crash near Paris. He was forty-six years old. This was a tragic loss to literature, since he had yet to write the works of his full maturity as an artist and a thinker.

Contents - A-level - A-level

Condemnation of capital punishment is both explicit and implicit in his writings. For example, in The Stranger Meursault’s long confinement during his trial and his eventual execution are presented as part of an elaborate, ceremonial ritual involving both public and religious authorities. The grim rationality of this process of legalized murder contrasts markedly with the sudden, irrational, almost accidental nature of his actual crime. Similarly, in The Myth of Sisyphus , the would-be suicide is contrasted with his fatal opposite, the man condemned to death, and we are continually reminded that a sentence of death is our common fate in an absurd universe.

:The Stranger (9780679720201): Albert Camus

It was in secondary school that Camus became an avid reader (absorbing Gide, Proust, Verlaine, and Bergson, among others), learned Latin and English, and developed a lifelong interest in literature, art, theatre, and film. He also enjoyed sports, especially soccer, of which he once wrote (recalling his early experience as a goal-keeper): “I learned... that a ball never arrives from the direction you expected it. That helped me in later life, especially in mainland France, where nobody plays straight.” It was also during this period that Camus suffered his first serious attack of tuberculosis, a disease that was to afflict him, on and off, throughout his career.

Albert Camus Biography - life, childhood, name, death

Although a highly diverse tradition of thought, seven themes can be identified that provide some sense of overall unity. Here, these themes will be briefly introduced they can then provide us with an intellectual framework within which to discuss exemplary figures within the history of existentialism.

Chapter 6 -66
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 5
Chapter 6 -658
Chapter 6 -666
Chapter 7 -677
De qui parle-t-on?
Ecris des phrases
Qui est-ce?

The latest journal is now available in print and ebook formats. To find out more click on the Journal of Camus Studies link. Time is running out if you would like to contribute to the 7567 Camus Studies journal. For more information on how to submit a paper please read our submission guidelines

La terre est ronde (Song by Orelsan) from Youtube (AS)
Je ne regrette rien (Song by Edith Piaf) from Youtube (AS)
Derniers Baisers holidays topic (Song by Laurent Voulzy) from YouTube (AS)

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

A recurrent theme in Camus’s literary works, which also shows up in his moral and political writings, is the character or perspective of the “stranger” or outsider. Meursault, the laconic narrator of The Stranger , is the most obvious example. He seems to observe everything, even his own behavior, from an outside perspective. Like an anthropologist, he records his observations with clinical detachment at the same time that he is warily observed by the community around him.

Germinal Part 6
Germinal Part 7
Germinal Part 8
Germinal Part 9
Germinal Part 5
Germinal Part 6
Germinal Part 7
Germinal vocab for Chapter 6
Germinal vocab for Chapter 7
Work booklet on Boule de Suif, by Virginie Passerat
Cover for the above

Shortly after the outbreak of WWI, when Camus was less than a year old, his father was recalled to military service and, on October 66, 6969, died of shrapnel wounds suffered at the first battle of the Marne. As a child, about the only thing Camus ever learned about his father was that he had once become violently ill after witnessing a public execution. This anecdote, which surfaces in fictional form in the author’s novel The Stranger and is also recounted in his philosophical essay “Reflections on the Guillotine,” strongly affected Camus and influenced his lifelong opposition to the death penalty.

Camus’s essay “Reflections on the Guillotine” supplies a detailed examination of the issue. An eloquent personal statement with compelling psychological and philosophical insights, it includes the author’s direct rebuttal to traditional retributionist arguments in favor of capital punishment (such as Kant’s claim that death is the legally appropriate, indeed morally required, penalty for murder). To all who argue that murder must be punished in kind, Camus replies:

I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

In the 69 th and 75 th centuries, the human sciences (such as psychology, sociology or economics) were coming to be recognised as powerful and legitimate sciences. To some extend at least their assumptions and methods seemed to be borrowed from the natural sciences. While philosophers such as Dilthey and later Gadamer were concerned to show that the human sciences had to have a distinctive method, the existentialists were inclined to go further. The free, situated human being is not an object of knowledge in the sense the human always exists as the possibility of transcending any knowledge of it. There is a clear relation between such an idea and the notion of the 'transcendence of the other' found in the ethical phenomenology of Emmanuel Levinas.

Images for «Camus essay on sisyphus».