Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Albert Camus

Having just recently read The Stranger for the first time in practically my dotage, I now am preening a bit on reading it in the year of his centenary. Purely by chance, but you preen where you can. I wouldn't have known it was his birthday today except for some random postings that rolled up on my other blog's blog roll. As I don't have a new review of anything by him, here are a couple of links, which both tend to stress his Africanness (even if Algeria, as yet, does not).

The Guardian tells us that neither France or Algeria are putting up much of a fuss this year.

And Tim Allen at the Oxford University Press blog argues that Camus should be considered as a Francophone African writer, as he lived in Algeria until he was 27. Do check this out for some lovely translations by Allen of Camus' words. There is a very beautiful passage about Algeria, and I'll take the liberty of quoting Allen's translation of Camus' credo right here:

“I know that my inspiration is in The Wrong Side and the Right Side, in this world of poverty and light where I lived for so long and whose memory still keeps me away from the two opposing dangers that menace every artist: resentment and satisfaction. […] I was placed halfway between misery and the sun. Misery kept me from believing that all is well in this world and with history; the sun taught me that history isn’t everything.” 

My own personal intention for honoring Camus is to finally read his posthumously published and incomplete work The First Man (Le premier homme),  a novel based on his youth in Algeria, which my aunt had asked me to read and which I unfortunately did not get to while I could still share it with her in a meaningful way. But in honoring him, I will perhaps fulfill a tiny portion of the debt I owe her too.


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