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Camus: Portrait of a Moralist
     

Camus: Portrait of a Moralist

by Stephen Eric Bronner
 

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Decades after his death, Albert Camus (1913–1960) is still regarded as one of the most influential and fascinating intellectuals of the twentieth century. This biography by Stephen Eric Bronner explores the connections between his literary work, his philosophical writings, and his politics.

Camus illuminates his impoverished childhood, his

Overview

Decades after his death, Albert Camus (1913–1960) is still regarded as one of the most influential and fascinating intellectuals of the twentieth century. This biography by Stephen Eric Bronner explores the connections between his literary work, his philosophical writings, and his politics.

Camus illuminates his impoverished childhood, his existential concerns, his activities in the antifascist resistance, and the controversies in which he was engaged. Beautifully written and incisively argued, this study offers new insights—and above all—highlights the contemporary relevance of an extraordinary man.

“A model of a kind of intelligent writing that should be in greater supply. Bronner manages judiciously to combine an appreciation for the strengths of Camus and nonrancorous criticism of his weaknesses. . . . As a personal and opinionated book, it invites the reader into an engaging and informative dialogue.”—American Political Science Review

 

“This concise, lively, and remarkably evenhanded treatment of the life and work of Albert Camus weaves together biography, philosophical analysis, and political commentary.”—Science & Society

Editorial Reviews

American Political Science Review
“A model of a kind of intelligent writing that should be in greater supply. Bronner manages judiciously to combine an appreciation for the strengths of Camus and nonrancorous criticism of his weaknesses. . . . As a personal and opinionated book, it invites the reader into an engaging and informative dialogue."
Science & Society
"This concise, lively, and remarkably evenhanded treatment of the life and work of Albert Camus weaves together biography, philosophical analysis, and political commentary."

— Kristana Arp

SubStance
"This study retraces the life and career of Albert Camus while elucidating the tumultuous period in which he lived. It features several original readings of major literary and philosophical texts, an incisive analysis of the Camus-Sartre controversy, and a thoughtful re-examination of Camus''s role in the Algerian conflict. It also provides a relevant and respectful look into Camus''s personal life. . . . Bronner portrays Camus with depth, subtlety, and, above all, balance. . . . A lucid and provocative re-thinking of who Camus was, what he meant for the past, and what he might mean for the future."

— Steven Hartlaub

Review of Politics
"A short, well-informed, clear and very balanced overview of the life and work of one of the most important European intellectuals of the mid-twentieth century. . . .The book will serve especially well those wanting an overall intellectual portrait of the man. Thus, it would be ideal complementary reading for students of existentialism and European intellectual history."-David Weberman, Review of Politics

— David Weberman

Science & Society - Kristana Arp
“This concise, lively, and remarkably evenhanded treatment of the life and work of Albert Camus weaves together biography, philosophical analysis, and political commentary."
SubStance - Steven Hartlaub
"This study retraces the life and career of Albert Camus while elucidating the tumultuous period in which he lived. It features several original readings of major literary and philosophical texts, an incisive analysis of the Camus-Sartre controversy, and a thoughtful re-examination of Camus's role in the Algerian conflict. It also provides a relevant and respectful look into Camus's personal life. . . . Bronner portrays Camus with depth, subtlety, and, above all, balance. . . . A lucid and provocative re-thinking of who Camus was, what he meant for the past, and what he might mean for the future."
Review of Politics - David Weberman
"A short, well-informed, clear and very balanced overview of the life and work of one of the most important European intellectuals of the mid-twentieth century. . . .The book will serve especially well those wanting an overall intellectual portrait of the man. Thus, it would be ideal complementary reading for students of existentialism and European intellectual history."
Library Journal
Arguing that a balanced philosophical and artistic treatment of Albert Camus is lacking, Bronner (political science/comparative literature, Rutgers Univ.) combines biographical facts with analyses of Camus's novels and plays to elucidate Camus's role as a moralist. He succeeds in explaining Camus's unique sense of personal responsibility and his lucidity, tolerance, and honesty. Bronner's discussion of Camus's earlier works like The Stranger and Caligula offer few new insights, but his helpful analyses of the play The Just and the treatise The Rebel clarify Camus's political ethics, whereby murder in most cases cannot be justified. Such a stance distanced Camus from fellow existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, who insisted on political "engagement" and who continued to justify the excesses of the Soviet Union for many years. Bronner rightfully concludes that Camus created a "positive morality, if not a sense of ethics, capable of providing rules for secular living." This specialized analysis will appeal to comparativists and literary scholars.--Robert T. Ivey, Univ. of Memphis

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226075679
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
09/15/2009
Pages:
200
Sales rank:
1,314,787
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Eric Bronner is distinguished professor of political science and director of global relations at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University.

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