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Jean-Paul Sartre & Albert Camus: Their Friendship and the Bitter Feud That Ended It


On the finish of World Conflict II, as Europe lay in ruins, so too did its “mental panorama,” notes the Dwelling Philosophy video above. Within the midst of this “mental crater” a variety of nice thinkers debated “the blueprint for the long run.” Feminist thinker and novelist Simone de Beauvoir put it bluntly: “We have been to supply the postwar period with its ideology.” Two names — De Beauvoir’s accomplice Jean-Paul Sartre and his good friend Albert Camus — got here to outline that ideology within the philosophy broadly generally known as Existentialism.

The 2 first met in Paris in 1943 in the course of the Nazi occupation. They have been already “deeply acquainted” with each other’s work and shared a mutual respect and admiration as critics and reviewers of one another and as fellow resistance members. Each “mental giants” have been focused by the FBI, and each would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature (although Sartre rejected his). Their fame would proceed into the postwar years, regardless of Camus’ retreat from philosophical writing after the publication of The Insurgent.

Whereas we’ve beforehand introduced you tales of their friendship, and its bitter finish, the video above digs deeper into the Sartre-Camus rivalry, with crucial historic context for his or her considering. Their preliminary falling out occurred over The Insurgent, which championed an moral individualism and critiqued the morality of revolutionary violence. As a substitute of exploring suicide, as he had achieved in The Fable of Sisyphus, right here Camus explores the issue of homicide, concluding that — outdoors of utmost circumstances like a Nazi invasion — violent political means don’t justify their ends.

The e book provoked Sartre, a doctrinaire Marxist, who had issued what Camus thought of feeble defenses for Joseph Stalin’s purges and gulags. A collection of scathing critiques and offended ripostes adopted. The non-public tone of those assaults chilled what little heat remained between them. When the Algerian battle for independence erupted a couple of years later, the staunchly anti-colonialist Sartre took the facet of Algeria’s Nationwide Liberation Entrance (FLN), excusing acts of violence towards civilians and rival factions as justified by French oppression. Such occasions “have been past justification within the thoughts of Camus.”

Whereas Sartre belittled Camus as “a criminal,” the “acuteness of the state of affairs was all of the stronger for Camus since Algeria was his homeland. He couldn’t see it within the ideological warped black and white of Sartre’s circle or the conservative French authorities.” The assertion may sum up all of Camus’ thought. As Sartre lastly conceded in a posthumous tribute; he “represented in our time the newest instance of that lengthy line of moralistes whose works represent maybe essentially the most authentic component in French letters…. he reaffirmed… towards the Machiavellians and towards the Idol of realism, the existence of the ethical problem,” in all its advanced ambiguity and uncertainty.

Associated Content material:

Sartre Writes a Tribute to Camus After His Pal-Turned-Rival Dies in a Tragic Automotive Crash: “There Is an Insufferable Absurdity in His Loss of life”

The Existentialism Information: How the FBI Focused Camus, and Then Sartre After the JFK Assassination

Albert Camus Writes a Pleasant Letter to Jean-Paul Sartre Earlier than Their Private and Philosophical Rift

Josh Jones is a author and musician primarily based in Durham, NC. Comply with him at @jdmagness



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