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Albert Camus and the Critique of Violence
by David Ohana
Sussex Academic Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-1-78284-314-6 | eISBN: 978-1-78284-315-3
Library of Congress Classification BP52.R59 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 322.108829709596

The temptation to resort to violence runs like a thread through Albert Camus' works, and can be viewed as an additional key to understanding his literary productions and philosophical writings. His short life and intellectual attitudes were almost all connected with brutality and cruel circumstance. At the age of one he lost his father, who was killed as a soldier of the French army at the outbreak of the First World War. He passed his childhood and youth in colonial Algeria, no doubt experiencing degrees of inhumanity during that difficult period. In his first years in conquered France, he was editor of an underground newspaper that opposed the Nazi occupation. In the years following the Liberation, he denounced the Bolshevist tyranny and was witness to the "dirty war" between the land of his birth and his country of living, France. Camus' preoccupation with violence was expressed in all facets of his work-as a philosopher, as a political thinker, as an author, as a man of the theatre, as a journalist, as an intellectual, and especially as a man doomed to live in an absurd world of hangmen and victims, binders and bound, sacrificers and sacrificed, and crucifiers and crucified. Three main metaphors of western culture can assist in understanding Camus' thinking about violence: the bound Prometheus, a hero of Greek mythology; the sacrifice of Isaac, one of the chief dramas of Jewish monotheism; and the crucifixion of Jesus, the founding event of Christianity. The bound, the sacrificed, and the crucified represent three perspectives through which David Ohana examines the place of ideological violence and its limits in the works of Albert Camus. *** "The author takes a refreshing approach-which is to say he does not rehash existentialist approaches to Camus's work. Ohana exhaustively traverses Camus's works, going far beyond his philosophical essay Myth of Sisyphus (1942). Students and scholars of philosophy, political science, and literary studies will benefit from this work." Recommended! --Choice, Vol. 55, No. 5, January 2018 [Subject: Philosophy, Albert Camus, Literary Criticism]

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