Friday, January 04, 2008

Missing Camus

It's not as if I knew him personally, but I've always felt a connection with him.
And through his writings I can connect with his thoughts.
So of course I miss him - along with many others who feel the same way.
He inspires a kind of obsessive following.
Albert Camus was killed in a car accident on January 4, 1960 - 48 years ago today.
If he were still alive he would be 94 years old.
I first heard of him when I bought a book by a German-Jewish writer who wrote a powerful story of a young French girl helping the Resistance during WWII (Simone by Lion Feuchtwanger). In this book someone had placed a clipping from an American newspaper detailing Camus' death and it stayed in that book from 1960 until 1978 when I purchased the book at a used book sale. I recall reading the clipping and thinking to myself, who is Camus and why have they kept the clipping for so long? I still have it and now I can understand why.
Of course I read The Stranger in an Intro to Humanities class in 1984 and hated it. Come to find out later it was a bad translation, because when I finally read Matthew Ward's translation I understood it so much better especially when comparing his version with the original written in French.

Camus died young, only 3 years after winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first African-born writer to win the award.
Fortunately his work will live on forever.
If you haven't read him or if you have bad memories from high school English, like being forced to read The Guest and not understanding it at all because your teacher was too busy putting on makeup and anxious to get the day over with so she could go get high...oh wait, that was my teacher, seriously, give Camus another try.
Some of my favorites are The Fall (La Chute) and The Adulterous Woman from Exile and the Kingdom.


Jennifer said...

OK - now you've got me intrigued. I have never read any of his works before. Now I think I'll have to. : )

Caroline said...

Julie, Congratulations on your acceptance to the English Literature Master's program! You're my new well as a glutton for punishment:)

Mmmmm Camus? I can't say that I share your love on this one, but I will admit that he's intriguing though. I wrote a paper trying to prove that Meursault in The Stranger had Autism a while back. It was kind of fun to write, except for the fact that my professor never sent me a grade on it. It was my final paper, and he gave me an A, so I guess he figured I'd never complain! He was right.