Thoughts on the Life of Albert Camus

This first chapter of our dissertation aims to offer a few more general information about the life of Camus, with no desire to follow a chronology that covers his entire life. Our intention is just an elaborate backdrop of your life to better understand your thinking. Still, biographical information are scattered throughout the work. In this chapter does not intend to be exhaustive, since more detailed information can be easily found in literature. There are excellent dictionaries, commentaries and biographies are available that describe the life and work of this that was one of the greatest writers of the French language.[16]

His posthumous novel, The First Man , was found on January 4, 1960, inside a folder still as a manuscript of 144 pages. His wife, Francine, and then his daughter Catherine (mother’s name from Camus) eventually give way to publish it only 34 years later, when no one expected. The strength of his daughter of course did not rest on the captive audience of Camus, but about the criticism that would do the work. Catherine Camus defends the relevance of the work of his father justified by the fact that Camus is the best-selling author published by Gallimard. She also says that “there are indications that today’s intellectuals are returning to Camus. History has given him reason for the fall of communism. Actually, Communism has always been the problem, responsible for opposition to Camus. This has always been first and foremost a political issue. “[17]

His criticism was stubborn against communism and against Christianity in The Rebel that caused his departure from the French intellectual elite of the post-war. The friendship, the more heralded than experienced between Sartre and Camus eventually, after coming and going, in Les Temps Modernes with the rawness of the words of Sartre to Camus that never failed to show any truth about Camus: “A mix of dark and sufficiency of vulnerability always discouraged me to tell you the whole truth. The result is that you became a prisoner of warm imbalance, which masks their internal difficulties and that you call, I believe: Mediterranean balance … You may have been poor, but no more: it is a bourgeois, as Jeanson and like me. And the misery did not give him any responsibility … Well after all that it is? … My god Camus as you are serious, and hire one of his words, as you are frivolous! And if you’re wrong? And if your book just to witness his philosophical incompetence? If it had been done quickly gathered knowledge and second hand? If only he would give a good conscience to the privileged? … Where is Meursault, Camus? Where is Sisyphus … Your morality became moralism, today is just literature, maybe tomorrow immorality “.[18]

The answer was for your personal notes from Camus: “Temps Modernes. They admit the sin, but refusing to free them … Something finally aspire to servitude “.[19]

Camus resented and isolated for a few years before he published The Fall . Differences in their argumentation, except when attacked violently, as in the case Jeanson [20]and Sartre, Camus always sought a safeguard friendly and cordial attitude toward their opponents, as if expressing an inability to go beyond the natural tone of your voice, preserving its as critical friends.[21]

The tone of his voice revealed a unique kindness and sympathy that attractive, combined with a confessional tone but paradoxically impersonal and framed by his untimely death, Camus created around an aura of affection rarely found in another writer. Susan Sontag says, “In Camus, whatever the topic, there is always a mix of personal judgments, moral and literary. No discussion of Camus forgets to include, or at least suggest, a tribute to his kindness and attractive human ” .[22]and so defined the death of Camus: “Kafka arouses pity and terror, admiration Joyce, Proust and Gide respect, but no modern writer who I remember, except Camus, awakened love. His death in 1960 meant to the literary world, a personal loss. ” [23]Indeed, his work is as a centripetal force that its axis obscure feelings start to show them to our retinas so cloudy and blurred, bringing out commonalities and interconnect of radically personal mythologies, as in a mirror, even shattered, still bears the outline of longing and nostalgia abound in the unconscious of its readers.

No wonder that almost all the works of Camus published with any photograph. His image is so that not disassociate the line between his life and work, that we give ourselves not only to reading but also to his memory, almost always tragic. And then we read Camus with your photo printed in bold colors on the cap of our consciousness and, above all, our feelings, to suck all he can offer, work and life. For without photo, symbol of his life, his work seems to lose strength.

Tragic characters attract us. They seem to incorporate all the excesses that life offers. Are, themselves, offers of fullness, desires, dreams and intensities that everyone seeks. They are almost lyrical expression of the will to live, to surrender, to seek, they carry the fire of our own dynamite detonator but it always turns against themselves and explode, making them what their most dazzling and contradictory namely, life. We then seemed to grope among the rubble and the memories of what they watched and seemed to promise in his art. It remains for us then to naked power, the power of life that they carried, but now completely naked in her charming lyricism.

But back to his posthumous book, The Rebel . In this book, we find the union of life and work, self-biography of Camus told in his unique lyricism. There is all its symbolism, there found, in detailed description of the places, characters and events, a review of your personal archeology. There is the background to search for the father, who died in the war and who knew neither Camus, and loving presence and changes from its mother. At forty Cormery Jacques, the name given by Camus himself, lies at the tomb of his father:”The man buried beneath this tombstone, and who had been his father, was younger than him.” [24]Camus realized there yet that everyone, no matter how familiar they are, die in anonymity, without being truly known. “Giving back to the tomb, Jacques Cormery abandoned his father.”[25]

His mother always kept a pain evidenced by the ratio of silence (her mother did not hear right and spoke little) and short dialogues and almost monosyllabic but where all the tenderness is manifested. So when Camus tells of her childhood: ” It was also her grandmother who told Jacques that we had to go to bed because they get up at five-thirty in the morning, and he kissed her first, then the uncle, and his mother to finish , which gave him a tender kiss and distracted, back to your posture motionless in the gloom, staring into the street and the stream of life passing relentlessly, tirelessly while his son, a lump in my throat, watching her in the dark, looking thin and curved back, full of confused anguish before a misfortune that he could not understand. “[26]

By the end Camus kept a huge affection for his mother who would always visit, and it took many notes to write the book. In 1959, Camus was chosen for the Nobel Prize in Literature. At the end of one of his interviews, answering repeated questions about the Algerian liberation, the French colony where he was born, which at that time was divided between those who fought for their freedom and those who rejected, Camus, after almost losing patience with a Muslim activist, said: “I must also denounce a terrorism which is exercised blindly on the streets of Algeria for example, and may someday reach my mother or my family. I believe in justice but I will defend my mother first . “[27]

What was the laughing stock of the intellectuals of France was directed exactly what the life of Camus. Camus was against any kind of totalitarianism, whether of right or left, religious or political. His adherence to any political issue take into account both individual and structural aspects. Loved him more human beings than the ideas and thought that they could easily pervert the human being and make him a murderer, and worse, justify it.

His life of political commitment was not easy. His attack on communism and his rebellious attitude, made him stand in the middle of a shootout between the group of left and right, leaving you with the absolute lack of understanding. It’s what he claims when he writes:”Each and every one against me to destroy me, demanding their share without rest, never, never offer me a hand, come to my aid, finally love me for what I am and yet, that I can continue to be. “[28]

Because of its extreme moderation , to use a term of Jean Grenier, [29]Camus was very poorly understood. As a prophet of himself and of his time, Camus anticipated abuses committed by communism, and accused Christianity of being a hindrance to a life fully conscious. No patrols on duty, Camus may now be better understood.

His childhood in Algeria was poor and happy as he defines it. For influence and kindness of a teacher, Louis Germain, who gave him extra hours of instruction, Camus joined the Gym, changing at this point the course of your life that got him out of the heavy lifting to help support the house, which would be its natural path. Later she worked at different jobs to get their support, even precarious, as a journalist. He continued his readings of philosophers, novelists, and several authors and found in a theater of his great passions which find the solidarity and friendship that nurtured his life.

Let us look a little religious influence of Camus. In the book cited above, Camus seems to describe the religious background of his family as simply one more element, not relevant. Moreover, the experience suggests a Camus-religious family. To say the lack of importance of religion in his house, Camus comically describes the reaction of his grandmother, who was actually who raised him, before news of someone’s death: “No one went to Mass, no one claimed or taught the divine commandments and Nor did anyone allude to the rewards and punishments beyond. When they talked to someone who had died in front of the grandmother, ‘Well,’ she said, ‘then this will not give more bang’. If it were someone with whom she had to pretend I had the same affection: “Poor man!” He said, ‘still so young, “even if the deceased was already a long time close to death”[30]

However, this apparent religious education, was imbued with a Christian presence that made them follow the ordinances of the church as the first communion of Camus and who also appeared in plays and imitations that his uncle was the priest and the Christian mass. “For Uncle Ernest, who lived at the level of sense, religion was what I saw it, that is, the priest and pomp. Using his talents as a comic, he never missed a single opportunity to imitate the Mass ceremony, decorating them with onomatopoeia (elongated) which imitated the Latin and, finally, while imitating the faithful who lowered their heads to the sound of the bell and the priest, taking advantage of this attitude, surreptitiously drank the wine of the mass. ” [31]The mother, who was a recurring character in his books, “was the only one whose sweetness could remember the faith, but just the sweetness that was all his faith .

Camus also describes all the religious ambience of your home that if it was not Christian, was taken by the rites and processional from Christianity. He said, “is that religion belonged to them, as for most Algerians, social life, and only her. They were Catholics and the French, and this requires a certain number of rites. In fact, these rites were exactly four: baptism, first communion, the sacrament of marriage (if there were marriage) and the last rites. “[32]

The lessons of the first fellowship brought him the bitter memory of unfairly receive a slap in the face of the priest. And thus responded: “The boy (Camus) looked, without a tear (and throughout his life was the kindness and love that made you cry, never evil or persecution, unlike that made his heart stronger and your decision), and returned to his seat. The left side of her face was burning, he felt the taste of blood in his mouth. With the tip of the tongue, found that the inner part of her face was cut by the blow, and bleeding. Swallowed the blood. ” [33]In these lessons, the boy listened intently Camus catechesis given by the priest and answered all questions of color: “Throughout the rest of the course of catechism, he was missing, looking calmly priest, no complaints but no friendship when it spoke to him, responding to color, without error, the questions and answers that relate to the divine person and sacrifice of Christ ,…” [34]It was common to the masses but that it was not enough, looked for more depth:”Steeped in the work as a single continuous dream, disturbed only by the masses in a confused way of late that multiply in the horrible cold church, but where the court did hear a song you heard first, because until then had heard only stupid things dreaming so with more consistency, more depth, a dream peopled with reflections of gold in semi darkness of the objects and vestments, finally going to meet the mystery but a nameless mystery, in which the divine persons named and strictly defined the catechism had nothing to do and nothing to do, and simply lengthen the seedy world in which he lived. “[35]

On the first communion, Camus says that does not keep many memories, is Louis Germain, his teacher who remembers childhood in a letter to Camus: “I recall the visit you made to our room with his fellow fellowship. You were visibly happy and proud with the clothes they wore and the party to celebrate. Frankly I was happy with his joy, thinking that if you did communion, because it was pleasing to him? So … “[36]

In this brief analysis of his childhood, Camus is not appropriate to characterize as a Christian in this brief analysis of his childhood, partly because, unlike this, Camus was always strict with Christianity as we shall see below. However, it is clear that Christianity and its religious ideology was of paramount importance in education and training Camus same in the structure of his thought. Throughout his work, Camus will often use Christian terms. His books speak for themselves the use of these themes: The Fall The Exile and the Kingdom Jonas The Outsider , as is later Bruckberg Fr. About The Rebel , Camus said that the first book’s title was “Adam.” André Lahoz, when the book was published in France, writes: “The author ponder another title for the book, ‘Adam’. As told ‘Il Gazzettino’ in 1959, ‘in fact each one of us is somehow the first man, Adam of his own history ” .[37]Constantly Camus uses Christian terms to comment, as in our case between him and the group the journal Les Temps Modernes . He said: “Temps Moderns. They admit the sin, but refused to grace “.[38]

However, Camus rejects Christianity as reading world. Prefer the Greek culture as his reference. At the time of his university, which comes into contact with Greek literature and culture that fascinate him. In his final work gave the title: The Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism . In seeking to replace the body of Christian doctrines with one that will fit your thinking, Camus find in Greek thought what came closest to their ideas. This attempt, however, will only be fully successful in an apparent meaning, in our view, since the structure on which to build their thinking is Christian, as we shall see. Chavane quotes a fellow Camus in Combat network which provided her a personal tribute, Father Bruckberg, who said: “Throughout his life, Camus sought a replacement body to Christianity, whatever may have been his personal feelings that surely were not anti-Christian. “[39]

Its proximity to the Mediterranean and its contact with nature, will always get the unconquerable sun, the midday sun that will rise as an icon of his thinking. In The Rebel , will seek a midpoint between the ideological extremism of the time, and evoke what he called Mediterranean thinking.

Early on, his love of life will propel him to absorb all she could give. I already feel your heart soon consume scorched by the life that awaits him. In 1936, Marguerite Dobrenn writes: “I remember that there are eighteen, they were just sleeping hours that seemed to reach a living. I had a raging thirst and hungry from all that awaited me, beings I did not know, words that I had not even said, works, books, men. And all that, I could not leave anything. I’m not sure have changed … ” .[40]Camus’s passion was nature, the sun and sea, night, people, football, reading, theater, short life in all its expressions. Your ten favorite words were: “The world, the pain, the earth, the mother, the men, the desert, honor, misery, summer, the sea.” [41]From the breadth of life that was revealed, Camus excluded the religious experience that took her only peculiar feature ahead of nature. Besides that, for Camus, there would be access to the sacred.

His texts have already evidenced their passion, as in football where he was a goalkeeper: “the joy of victories so wonderful (…) but the stupid urge to cry in the nights of Loss” or “in his walks on the beach ‘ the anguish of the night light in a heart of sixteen years “.[42]

His love for life was overwhelming passion that invaded, and this force that took over conducting both a rule of conduct as his own thinking. The feelings eventually establish the method of Camus. It was the feeling of anxiety that manifested itself between the offer of life and the certainty of death, which led to the theorizing of the concept of absurdity. Faced with the absurd, was a sense of human solidarity that led him to establish the notion of revolt. And then walked to a sense of moderation.

In all these phases, has always shown tremendous difficulty with pain, suffering and human death. If before their relationship was driven by contempt aware that nothing could be done against the only certainty in life, later Camus accept death as something necessary to the completion of life, and love. Not accept the death of children and young people made to live and death will draw strength from a sense that she does not steal it. Presence of hope in the thought of Camus, Chavane observes: “In 1941, Albert Camus noted that reflection of Tolstoy, which he pointed out the last words: ‘The existence of death forces us.”[43]

There will also always Camus, the constant presence and threat of death, a preoccupation with the present, the need to live now. So he says: “One must live, in fact, stop now and despair”.[44]

Camus’s work can be divided into three stages, namely, the absurd, anger and love, the latter eliminated prematurely by his death. There is great number of thinkers who influenced the thinking of Camus: Pascal, Nietzsche, Malraux, Grenier, Montherlant, Moliere, Russian literature of the nineteenth century, Plato, Augustine, Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and many others.

However, Camus does not make systematic use of works which it proposes to study what earned him the criticism of his opponents accusing him of always using second-hand material, devoid of a closer study. Roger Quilliot rightly attentive to how Camus sought references in the authors he read: “He lent less ideas or quotes that attitudes meant that a conduct of life” .[45]His insights gave him the strength of his statements, the observation Grenier ” He had a natural warmth that did not need reasons. “[46]

Camus was not a philosopher. Never intended to be. His books of ideas, The Myth of Sisyphus and The Rebel were not philosophical treatises but formed part in the tradition before the test. [47]He was a lover of the theater and made the words the raw material for the production of his art. He said: “Why am an artist and not a philosopher? And I think according to words and not according to ideas. ”

The work of Camus seems to be waiting for the return of its creator. The First Man is just a new beginning for a unique moment that would open to Camus. As his daughter Catherine: “We must remember that Camus did not write or a third of what he had wanted to write. The First Man is his last posthumous work. However, in a sense, is his first work, because there you can see the signs of their commitments, and also all the routing of writing. This mix of austerity and sensuality, the desire to speak for those who can not speak for themselves. “[48]

Camus died aged 46 in a car accident. Moacyr Scliar, making the presentation of a new edition of The Inside Out and Right in Portuguese, quoted the aphorism: “Those whom the gods love die young.” [49]Camus was too early.

Also today seem to have known this reality. Renato Russo, singer, poet and prophet of my generation, they probably loved by God, he sang in one of his songs: “It’s so strange, the good die young, so it seems when I think of you just leaving too soon. It’s so strange, and before the good die too soon, too soon … “[50]

[16]In Portuguese see: BARRETO, Vicente. Camus, Life and Work ; LEBESQUE, Morvan. Camus For Himself ; BRISVILLE, Jean Claude.Albert Camus. In English: LOTTMAN, Herbert R. Albert Camus. A Biography ; Bree, germanin. Albert Camus . In French: Todd, Olivier. Albert Camus, Une Vie.

[17]WIKINSON, Russel. Solitaire et Solidaire. Rudolf Wikinson talks to Catherine Camus about The First Man 10/95. Internet. Emaill Russell at: spike.cyberzine @ dial. . In this interview, Wikinson notes that The Outsider , after 50 years of its publication is still the best-selling novel of the century in France

[18]BARRETO, Vicente. Camus Life and Work . p. 25 and LOTTMAN, Herbert R. Albert Camus. The Biography . pp. 529-532

[19]LOTTMAN, Herbert R. Albert Camus. The Biography . p. 533

[20]Francis Jeanson was chosen from outside the group of Les Temps Modernes to make the comment that no one wanted to venture on The Rebel . His criticism earned him good fruit. After all the controversy, Jeanson left the deepest anonymity and had received their jobs more easily by other journals and publishers.

[21]On this see the discussion of Camus and André Breton in the case Lautréamont LOTTMAN, Herbert R. CAMUS, The Biography . And the discussion with Roland Barthes on his novel The Plague . published in Portuguese in the notebook MORE! Folha de S. Paulo de 01/05/1997

[22]SONTAG, Susan. Contra la Interpretación. p. 69

[23] Ibid.

[24]CAMUS, Albert. The First Man . p. 25

[25] Ibid., P. 28

[26] Ibid., P. 202

[27] LOTTMAN, Herbert R. Op. p. 649

[28] Ibid., P. 534

[29]Camus dedicated his book The Rebel Jean Grenier. Grenier was his personal friend, wrote a book, Albert Camus. Memories , and prefaced the first volume of Camus’s complete works in French published by the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade.

[30]CAMUS, Albert. The First Man . p. 147

[31] Ibid., Pp. 147-148

[32] Ibid., P. 147

[33] Ibid., P. 152

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36]LOUIS, Germain. In CAMUS, Albert. Op Cit. p. 311

[37]LAHÓZ, Andrew. Unpublished About Camus is Published in France . Folha de S. Paul. Illustrated. p. 5-3

[38] LOTTMAN, Herbert. R. Op. p. 521

[39]CHAVAN, François. Maintenant Il Faut Vivre . p. 17

[40] Ibid., P. 48 Note: the right to judge the dates cited by Chavane Camus was at that time only five years old.

[41] CAMUS, Albert. In BRISVILLE, Jean Claude. Op. p. 231.

[42] Idem. In CHAVAN, Francois. Op. p.48

[43] CHAVAN, François. Op. p. 202.

[44] Ibid., P. 15

[45]Quilliot, Roger. The Sea and Prisons . p. 90

[46]GRENIER, Jean. Préface . In CAMUS, Albert. Théâtre, Récits, Nouvelles . p. XIX

[47]See PINTO, Manuel da Costa. Albert Camus: A Praise of the Essay . Master’s thesis defended at the Department of Literary Theory, Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, University of São Paulo. 15/08/1996. Xerox

[48] CAMUS, Catherine. In WIKINSON, Russel. Op.

[49]Moacyr Scliar. Presentation . In CAMUS, Albert. The Right and the Averse . P. 10

[50]Russo, Renato. Love in the Afternoon . CD Discovery of Brazil. EMI. 1993

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