Albert Camus: The Life of Dialogue

Albert Camus: The Life of Dialogue


By comparison with the work of men like Koestler, Silone and Orwell, Albert Camus’ writing has always seemed to me somewhat grandiose and porous. He lacked Koestler’s capacity for sustained argument, Silone’s mixture of humor and humaneness, Orwell’s gritty concern for facts. To be sure, Camus never succumbed to the casuistry of the later Koestler or the occasional anti-intellectualism of Orwell; but except for The Stranger, his one first-rate novel and his deepest exploration of the problem of nihilism, Camus’ work had a disturbing quality: all too often he seemed to be making a speech.

To note these reservations is to do that, and no more; it is surely not to deny that Camus deserved much of the praise that has been rendered him. As a man reflecting upon the life of our time, Camus could be, in his very bewilderment, an enormously sympathetic figure. His mind was not really fecund, like Sartre’s, but then he never became infatuated, again like Sartre, with his own dilemmas and agilities. Camus really preferred the truth to everything else, even to his own security as an intellectual. In defense of the values by which h...

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