Friday, May 16, 2014

"I'm alive/I'm dead"

Yesterday, over at one of my favorite publications, The American Conservative, I read a book review by Ian Marcus Corbin entitled "Entranced by Reality." It was a review of a book by Robert Zaretsky that looks like one I will read: A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning.

In any case, Corbin's review bears resemblance to what many of us have written about Camus. Hence, it is a good thing for those who may not be familiar with the general trajectory of Camus' thought as expressed in his writing. For example, Corbin observed,
It has often been observed that the 20th century was an age of ideologies, when abstract ideas ran roughshod over millions upon millions of real human bodies. In this context, Camus’s fidelity to fleshly reality was remarkable and heroic. If he was not a man for all seasons, he was without question a man for his season
It seems to me that ideology is, yet again, gaining the upper hand, which means that Camus remains relevant at for least now. Contra Corbin, I happen to believe that his early novel A Happy Death and The Stranger are truly great works of literature.

This is to take the long route to our Friday traditio, which is by The Cure, "Killing an Arab." The song is based on Camus' novella The Stranger and his strange anti-hero Meursault, in whose mind Camus put this thought: “There is not love of life without despair about life.” In A Happy Death Camus observed, “On good days, if you trust life, life has to answer you.”

I can turn
And walk away
Or I can fire the gun
Staring at the sky
Staring at the sun
Whichever I chose
It amounts to the same
Absolutely nothing

1 comment:

  1. It's a shame that The Cure has now changed "Killing An Arab" to "Killing Another." Another example of the stupid fear of offending Muslims. Robert Smith should, instead, try to educate people about Camus' "The Stranger." BTW, I've got the hardcover edition of "A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning." Fantastic!