Reflecting the profound influence he continues to exert on popular consciousness, Camus examines the complete body of works of French author and philosopher Albert Camus, providing a comprehensive analysis of Camus’ most important works—most notably The Myth of Sisyphus, The Stranger, The Fall, The Plague, and The Rebel—within the framework of his basic ethical orientation. Makes Camus’ concerns clear in terms that will resonate with contemporary readers Reveals the unity and integrity of Camus’ writings and political activities Discusses Camus’ ongoing relevance by showing how he prefigures many postmodern positions in philosophy, literature, and politics
Acknowledgments. List of Abbreviations. Introduction: Situating Camus. 1. Camus’s Life. 2. The Absurd. 3. Life. 4. Scorn. 5. Solidarity. 6. Rebellion. 7. Realpolitik. 8. Exile and Rebirth. 9. Epilogue. Index
“Sherman's book provides an excellent account of Camus' fortunes and misfortunes in the intellectual realm in France immediately following the war.” (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, April 2009) “Sherman persuasively argues that what emerges from Camus’s writing is the portrait of a man of courage and decency. Recommended to all academic libraries and university foreign-language departments with strong French programs.” (Library Journal, February 2009)
David Sherman is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Montana at Missoula. He is the author of Sartre and Adorno: The Dialectics of Subjectivity (2007) and co-editor of The Blackwell Guide to Continental Philosophy (2003).
History (much like his contemporaries) has tended to judge Camus harshly – as mediocre philosopher, conflicted man of the left and, worst of all, apologist for French imperialism. Yet, as David Sherman argues in this rewarding new study, a sensitive reading of the entirety of Camus’s writings reveals both a power and unity of philosophical purpose. The ethico-political sympathies manifested in these writings evidence an integrity that places him among the greatest and most vital humanist voices of our time. The book covers all of Camus’s significant writings and includes thorough expositions of The Myth of Sisyphus, The Stranger, The Fall, The Plague, and The Rebel. A discussion of the metaphysical and practical connotations of Camus’s celebrated concept of The Absurd lays the foundation for a discussion of the later works, which are considered in the context of Camus’s basic ethical orientation. This, it is contended, harks back (and, with its recent resurgence, forward) to a virtue ethics of sorts. It is argued that Camus’s literary characters are purified phenomenological portraits that reflect the existential temptations of an overwhelmed modern consciousness, and the ethico-political works reflect the efforts of a morally committed consciousness to come to grips with a modern world unable to make good the moral imperative. In the end, it is argued, Camus offers a phenomenological ethics, which is all that is left of virtue ethics when social life has broken down.
"Despite Camus's own reluctance to be regarded as 'a philosopher' and 'an existentialist', David Sherman's authoritative study establishes the importance of Camus's contribution – in his fiction as well as his essays – to existential philosophy. Sherman's Camus is an engaging man of 'decency and courage', and a great writer who eloquently articulated the modern human predicament." –Professor David Cooper, Durham University
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