Camus and Sartre


“Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre first met in 1943 at the premier of Sartre’s play The Flies. Camus was the young debonair, French-Algerian from working class roots (who famously played for the Algerian football team) whilst Sartre came from stable middle class stock. Though Aronson underplays their class difference, it is clear in their political leanings that the issue of ‘class’ is hugely relevant — separating the political practice of Camus from the theoretical Marxism of Sartre. Even today, Camus remains the hero of the left — whilst Sartre, following in the footsteps of Husserl and Heidegger — for whom he could only pay homage, never managed to escape Cartesian dualism, using Hegelian language in an attempt to reconcile the mind/body, theory/practice split. It is within literature — specifically Nausea and Huis Clos (which famously declares ‘Hell is Other People’) that Sartre is most remembered, coupled with his illustrations of Bad Faith (the Unhappy Homosexual, the Waiter et al) in Being and Nothingness that maintains Sartre’s place in the history of ideas; whereas for Camus, it is The Myth of Sisyphus with its explanation of human suffering and his novel The Outsider for which he is best remembered.”

Read the review at the link.

5 thoughts on “Camus and Sartre

  1. two of reviewer Eccy de Jonge’s sentences say so much!

    “Although Aronson attempts a reconciliation of sorts at the end of the book: ‘we can now appreciate both Camus and Sartre and reject the either/or that broke them apart’ one feels a clear siding on Aronson’s part with Sartre’s philosophy and Marxist leanings. Yet, for those of us who have always found in Camus an authenticity of being as well as a social political commentary and philosophy far succeeding Sartre’s great philosophical work (Being and Nothingness), which reads like bad-Hegelianism, Camus remains the working-class hero whilst Sartre’s thought merely flutters behind the wings of postmodernism.”

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  2. Hey now! Are you one of “those of us who have always found in Camus an authenticity of being as well as a social political commentary and philosophy far succeeding Sartre’s great philosophical work (Being and Nothingness)…”?

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  3. hey, Perl, yes, I think I am….I loved the “reads like bad Hegelianism” dig, too! I don’t think I’m the only one who wanted to chuck B&N across the room!

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  4. You mean like this?

    “Being-for-others can be only if it is made-to-be by a totality which is lost so that being-for-others may arise, a position which would lead us to postulate the existence and directing power of the mind. But on the other hand…” [B&N, 301]

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