jeudi 19 novembre 2009

Sarko chooses Albert Camus for the Panthéon

L'écrivain Albert Camus en juin 1947

Dernier minute: 19 novembre 2009

First choice for the French Panthéon made by President Nicolas Sarkozy is my longstanding hero, Albert Camus, who found his own humanity in the absurdity of the human condition. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1957, the year I was born. (my luck, not his! :>>)))

His novel
L'Etranger was the first book I read completely in French after only three months of French study, although I had read it in English as a teenager. While his ideas may be complex, his writing is often simple: short sentences, verbs in the passé composé. I highly recommend this novel to anyone beginning French study. Follow L'Etranger with La Peste; there are more than a few similarities to what is going on today with our "pandemics" and the actions of the State.

Camus said the most important question in life is whether or not one will commit suicide. Think about it! Will one have the will to continue in spite of the terrible hardships and losses that one must face in life, perhaps due to one's own misadventures? Life is hard, bébé! But still, we each have a choice, and this is what Camus was talking about.

I couldn't agree with him more... and I think I make that choice everyday. How about you?

update 21/11: Camus' son refuses his father's entrance into the Panthéon. turns out he won't let sarko use his father for his own purposes. un bon fils, lui...

11 commentaires:

enudelman a dit…

Camus was a genius and one of the best writers that ever wrote successfully and honestly in allegory about the human condition. However, I don't think the question is whether we'll live or die, whether that's a decision that makes us brave, but rather what will we do WHILE we are alive, what we can do for others... extend the dilemma outside ourselves

Moineau En France a dit…

very good point, ed. xooxox

Stirling Davenport a dit…

Good points, both of you. I tend to focus on alleviating the suffering while alive, knowing that death does not solve it. Or believing that we just pick up where we left off somewhere else ... starting with myself, lessen suffering. As an artist wrote on a t-shirt when I was in India, "No ego, no cry."

Jan Hersh a dit…

I also read him in French and embraced his ideas at the time.
It sounds like you are making the most of this opportunity. May you never have to face the question of suicide. Vive l'amour!

Moineau En France a dit…

i face it often, jan. honestly, i make a daily choice because this illness often seems too much to bear... but i have realized over the years that it would destroy my children, my mother, my lover. even if the xmrv retrovirus hadn't been found, i would have to find reasons to hope... and now, well, as one researcher, nancy klimas, said, and i rephrase, "this is not the time to give up or to let friends give up."

to lessen suffering: it's so hard to know how to do that sometimes when the physical body is suffering. i'm sitting here in paradise and yet suffering in this effin' body: swooping w/ cfs symptoms, in pain, unable to sleep, huge cyst on my crotch... geez. if this body is ego, i'll let it go right now! wake me up from this awful wakefulness because i'm really tired! :>>))

la vie, la vie, quelquefois c'est presque trop difficile! mais demain peut être mieux... (but tomorrow can be better...) this is what i think about when i think i can't take it anymore. it's like waiting for my medication to work; eventually it will, i will feel that much better. everything changes--this is the only real truth i know--the future is unknown.

this is my personal dilemma, i realize this, even after years of mental illness: so the suicide question works for me as i interpret it. i do take pride in simply staying alive! that's the first thing i do "for others". after that, i can make more choices to better this world. but it's got to start with this initial choice, at least for me, and i still think for camus. it's about suffering and what to do with it. xoxoxoxo

Moineau En France a dit…

nb. jan, et oui, vive l'amour! il n'y a que l'amour... :>>)) xoxoxoox

Ottodachat a dit…

My only problem with Camus, is this: whenever anyone mentions 20th Century French literature Camus is always on the top of the list. That's not to say I don't like him, but for everytime I hear the name Camus, I think of Michel Butor, or Robbe Grillet, Antonin Artaud and others. (Also Roland Barthes -- though he was an essayist). I do think Camus is a bit overrated and we shouldn't forget that there are other writers who get lost in the fray of great thinkers for the 20th century, notably French. Also Marguerite Duras should never be overlooked as well.

Moineau En France a dit…

i'm with you, otto... i discovered robbe grillet about the same time as i discovered camus and i adore him. butor i discovered at university; he was difficult for me (le vocabulaire!).. but the writers of the nouveau roman will always be close to my heart for their great wit and style and, yes, ironic insights. marguerite duras as well, she is a revolution in herself. i don't know the two others you praise, but thanks to you (comme d'habitude) i will discover them.

but... due his great simplicity of style in contrast to his content, camus stays at the top of my list. i find him accessible, and while there are plenty of writers who are accessible but lame, camus is another category altogether.

i made this post to celebrate the fact that camus was to be celebrated with entrance into the panthéon; that's why everyone is talking about him and only him i think, at least in context to this post. we must await the deaths of these other writers before their panthéon days can arrive. plus, it's not even sure for camus at this point because it must be voted on by some board. in my view, camus deserves this honor! he's breathed a lot of life into my pauvre intelligence. bisous, toi. xxoox

Ottodachat a dit…

You must read Roland Barthes! I saw him years ago in Paris. He writes about writing and is well known for his Plaisir du texte. Sadly he died in an accident. A laundry truck struck him one day while crossing the street.

Here is a link on Artaud:
(known for his theater of cruelty)

and here for Roland Barthes:

Here is a bried description:
Roland Barthes (12 November 1915 – 25 March 1980) (French pronunciation: [ʀɔlɑ̃ baʀt]) was a French literary theorist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician. Barthes's work extended over many fields and he influenced the development of schools of theory including structuralism, semiotics, existentialism, social theory, Marxism and post-structuralism.

Also don't forget Jacques Derrida and of course Georges Batailles. Great french thinkers of the 20th century. Lots to read so little time. Malheureusement, j'occupe avec des ecrivains Allemands!

Ottodachat a dit…

sorry I got a bit off the subject of Camus. Let's face it, the French have produced some interesting writers in the past say . . . 400 years!

Also, Julie Kristeva is another excellent writer and semiologue.

Moineau En France a dit…

no prob, mon mec... always looking for new writers, great writers! especially in french. merci beaucoup! xooxoxoxox