Read Summer in Algiers by Albert Camus Free Online
Book Title: Summer in Algiers|
The author of the book: Albert Camus
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: May 6th 2005
Loaded: 1282 times
Reader ratings: 6.1
ISBN 13: 9780141022147
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 13.70 MB
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I’ve been meaning to read Albert Camus for years! You know how it is. There’s an author you know you should read but just never get around to it. I think I looked at The Outsider a few years ago and decided it was a bit impenetrable. I also have trouble understanding the nuances of existentialism (although Camus says he wasn’t one), so when I discovered my Penguin 70s copy of Summer in Algiers I thought, ah now, a perfect introduction!
Summer in Algiers contains three essays - the title essay, The Minotaur or The Stop in Oran and Return to Tipasa. Summer in Algiers was evidently written in 1936 and for me is about the people, their lifestyle and the place - Algiers in summer. It is about knowing all this fully: “In Algiers, one loves the commonplace, the sea at the end of the street, a certain volume of sunlight, the beauty of the race.”
Truthfully, I got a bit lost in the second essay but I love his writing on Oran and the desert. “The streets of Oran are doomed to dust, pebbles and heat. If it rains, there is a deluge and a sea of mud. But rain or shine, the shops have the same extravagant and absurd look. All the bad taste of Europe and the Orient has managed to converge in them.” And of the desert he writes: “There is something implacable about the desert. The mineral sky of Oran, her streets and trees in their coating of dust - everything contributes to creating this dense and impassable universe in which the heart and mind are never distracted from themselves, nor from their sole object which is man. I am speaking here of difficult places of retreat....” Wow and typing that last line I’m drawn back into his work. I think these essays, particularly this middle one need several readings to appreciate the full impact of Camus’s thinking. Note to self - read this essay again.
And then we come to the last essay, for me a truly mind blowing moment! I wasn’t prepared for Return to Tipasa. Firstly for it to read so poetically - the lyrical cadences, the ebb and flow of the language is amazing and for this reader at least, completely different from the preceding essays. And secondly, to move me like it did. Here is a heartfelt and surely still valid response to the problems of humanity in the world today. Read it, as the cliche goes, and weep. This reader did. Highly recommended.
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Read information about the authorAlbert Camus (1913-1960) was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work. Of semi-proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest in philosophy (only chance prevented him from pursuing a university career in that field), he came to France at the age of twenty-five. The man and the times met: Camus joined the resistance movement during the occupation and after the liberation was a columnist for the newspaper Combat. But his journalistic activities had been chiefly a response to the demands of the time; in 1947 Camus retired from political journalism and, besides writing his fiction and essays, was very active in the theatre as producer and playwright (e.g., Caligula, 1944). He also adapted plays by Calderon, Lope de Vega, Dino Buzzati, and Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun. His love for the theatre may be traced back to his membership in L'Equipe, an Algerian theatre group, whose "collective creation" Révolte dans les Asturies (1934) was banned for political reasons.
The essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), 1942, expounds Camus's notion of the absurd and of its acceptance with "the total absence of hope, which has nothing to do with despair, a continual refusal, which must not be confused with renouncement - and a conscious dissatisfaction". Meursault, central character of L'Étranger (The Stranger), 1942, illustrates much of this essay: man as the nauseated victim of the absurd orthodoxy of habit, later - when the young killer faces execution - tempted by despair, hope, and salvation. Dr. Rieux of La Peste (The Plague), 1947, who tirelessly attends the plague-stricken citizens of Oran, enacts the revolt against a world of the absurd and of injustice, and confirms Camus's words: "We refuse to despair of mankind. Without having the unreasonable ambition to save men, we still want to serve them". Other well-known works of Camus are La Chute (The Fall), 1956, and L'Exil et le royaume (Exile and the Kingdom), 1957. His austere search for moral order found its aesthetic correlative in the classicism of his art. He was a stylist of great purity and intense concentration and rationality.
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