More than 50 years after independence, Algerian Chronicles, with its prescient analysis of the dead end of terrorism, appears here in English for the first time. Published in France in 1958—the year the war caused the collapse of the Fourth French Republic—it is one of Albert Camus’ most political works: an exploration of his commitment to Algeria.
Albert Camus (1913-1960), Algerian-French novelist, essayist, and playwright, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.
Alice Kaplan is John M. Musser Professor of French and chair of the Department of French at Yale University.
Read an Excerpt
From Chapter Fourteen: Letter to an Algerian Militant
My dear Kessous,
I found your letters upon returning from my vacation, and I am afraid that my approval will arrive very late. Yet I need to let you know how I feel. Believe me when I tell you that Algeria is where I hurt at this moment, as others feel pain in their lungs. And since August 20 I have been on the edge of despair.
Only a person who knows nothing of the human heart can think that the French of Algeria can now forget the massacres in Philippeville. Conversely, only a madman can believe that repression, once unleashed, can induce the Arab masses to trust and respect France. So we now find ourselves pitted against one another, with each side determined to inflict as much pain as possible on the other, inexpiably. This thought is unbearable to me, and it poisons my days.
And yet you and I, who are so alike, who share the same culture and the same hopes, who have been brothers for so long, joined in the love we both feel for our country, know that we are not enemies. We know that we could live happily together on this land, which is our land—because it is ours, and because I can no more imagine it without you and your brothers than you can separate it from me and my kind.
You said it very well, better than I will say it: we are condemned to live together. The French of Algeria—who, I thank you for pointing out, are not all wealthy bloodsuckers—have been in Algeria more than a century and number more than a million. That alone is enough to distinguish the Algerian problem from the problems of Tunisia and Morocco, where the French settlement is relatively small and recent. The “French reality” can never be eliminated from Algeria, and the dream that the French will suddenly disappear is childish. By the same token, there is no reason why nine million Arabs should be forgotten on their own soil. The dream that the Arabs can be forever negated, silenced, and subjugated is equally insane. The French are attached to Algerian soil by roots too old and deep to think of tearing them up. But this does not give the French the right to cut the roots of Arab life and culture. All my life, I have defended the idea that our country stands in need of far-reaching reform (and as you well know, I paid the price in the form of exile). No one believed me, and people continued to pursue the dream of power, which always believes that it is eternal and always forgets that history does not stop. Today reform is more necessary than ever. Your proposals would constitute an indispensable first step and should be implemented without delay, provided they are not drowned beforehand in either French or Arab blood.
But I know from experience that to say these things today is to venture into a no-man’s-land between hostile armies. It is to preach the folly of war as bullets fly. Bloodshed may sometimes lead to progress, but more often it brings only greater barbarity and misery. He who pours his heart into such a plea can expect only laughter and the din of the battlefield in reply. And yet someone must say these things, and since you propose to try, I cannot let you take such an insane and necessary step without standing with you in fraternal solidarity.
Contents Translator’s Note New Perspectives on Camus’s Algerian Chronicles by Alice Kaplan Algerian Chronicles Preface The Misery of Kabylia 1. Destitution 2. Destitution (continued) 3. Wages 4. Education 5. The Political Future 6. The Economic and Social Future 7. Conclusion Crisis in Algeria 8. Crisis in Algeria 9. Famine in Algeria 10. Ships and Justice 11. The Political Malaise 12. The Party of the Manifesto 13. Conclusion 14. Letter to an Algerian Militant Algeria Torn 15. The Missing 16. The Roundtable 17. A Clear Conscience 18. The True Surrender 19. The Adversary’s Reasons 20. November 1 21. A Truce for Civilians 22. The Party of Truce 23. Call for a Civilian Truce in Algeria The Maisonseul Affair 24. Letter to Le Monde 25. Govern! Algeria 1958 26. Algeria 1958 27. The New Algeria Appendix Indigenous Culture: The New Mediterranean Culture Men Stricken from the Rolls of Humanity Letter from Camus to Le Monde Draft of a Letter to Encounter Two Letters to René Coty The Nobel Prize Press Conference Incident Index
Exploring themes that preoccupied Albert Camus--absurdity, silence, revolt, fidelity, and moderation--Robert Zaretsky portrays a moralist
who refused to be fooled by the nobler names we assign to our actions, and who pushed himself, and those about him, to challenge the ...
El libro trata de un antiguo emperador de Roma llamado Calígula el cual se vuelve
completamente loco a partir de la muerte de su hermana que también era a la vez su amada.A partir de esta muerte es cuando lleva ...
History / Characters: 18 males, 2 femalesScenery: ExteriorCaligula explores the absolutism of power and the
catastrophe of tyranny. Caesar summons his council, whose first thought is of taxes. Very well, says Caesar, if taxes are more important than human hearts, ...
Camus irrt sich nicht in seinem Roman. Das Drama sind nicht die, die durch die
Hintertür zum Friedhof entwischen – und für die die Angst vor der Pest endlich vorbei war –, sondern die Lebenden, die in ihren stickigen Schlafzimmern ...
El extranjero (título original francés L'Étranger) es la primera novela del escritor francés Albert Camus,
publicada en 1942. El protagonista, Meursault, es un ser indiferente a la realidad por resultarle absurda e inabordable. El progreso tecnológico le ha privado de ...
Albert Camus (1913-1960) no sólo fue uno de los escritores más prestigiosos de la generación
que llegó a la madurez entre las ruinas, la frustración y la desesperanza de la Europa demolida por las dos Guerras Mundiales, sino que el ...
El malentendido es una de las más célebres piezas teatrales de Albert Camus (1913-1960), cuyo
talento literario y sensibilidad se centraron siempre en la complejidad, la ambigüedad y la riqueza de la condición humana. Sus obras dramáticas se revelan como ...
El mito de Sísifo es un ensayo filosófico de Albert Camus, originalmente publicado en francés
en 1942 como Le Mythe de Sisyphe.El título del ensayo proviene de un atribulado personaje de la mitología griega. En él, Camus discute la cuestión ...