Thursday, August 20, 2009

Herbeck, Jason. Review of John Foley's ALBERT CAMUS. NDPR (August 2009).

Foley, John. Albert Camus: from the Absurd to Revolt. Montreal: McGill-Queen's UP, 2008. John Foley's book addresses what for all intents and purposes he perceives as the all-too-often misunderstood relationship between the absurd and revolt in Camus's writings. Calling into question the critical contention made most recently by Avi Sagi and Richard Kamber, according to which Camus eventually rejected the absurd in favor of revolt, Foley proposes to demonstrate the "intellectual continuum" linking the two (4). Moreover, recognizing what he terms the "profound coherence between these two concepts" will, Foley argues, allow us to better negotiate the nuances of Camus's political and philosophical engagements (170). Such a perspective is meant to afford readers a more informed understanding of the vexed issues, such as capital punishment, Algerian independence and the legitimacy of political violence, that Camus faced in his lifetime. Consequently, where Camus's detractors (ranging from Sartre and de Beauvoir to Conor Cruise O'Brien and Edward Said) have leveled charges of political quietism and inconsequence, bourgeois liberalism and impotent idealism, Foley's close critical readings and extensive scholarship provide an apologia of sorts for what some have too hastily interpreted as Camus's egregious contradictions and inexcusable silence. . . . Read the whole review here:

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