Tag Archives: Albert Camus

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka: Review

The MetamorphosisThe Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfection. Utter perfection.

The forward by director David Cronenberg, drawing parallels between “The Metamorphosis” and his movie “The Fly” — not to mention movingly relating the story to waking up to find oneself transformed into an old man.

The afterword by translator Susan Bernofsky in which she makes connections to Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” and also tells the difficulties of capturing in English the idiomatic nuances of the original German.

That inspired cover.

The list of authors on the back cover who have been influenced by the novella — Orwell, Camus, Borges, Bradbury — all heroes of mine.

Oh, and yes: the awesome translation.

I am flabbergasted anew by one of my favorite writers, and by a work that was hugely influential for early writing of my own. Thank you to Susan Bernofsky for her fine work.

View all my reviews

Albert Camus Centenary

albert-camus

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Albert Camus: writer, philosopher, and another of my idols. This quote is from The Rebel, and it seems as appropriate today as it was in 1951.

One might think that a period which, in a space of fifty years, uproots, enslaves, or kills seventy million human beings should be condemned out of hand. But its culpability must still be understood… In more ingenuous times, when the tyrant razed cities for his own greater glory, when the slave chained to the conqueror’s chariot was dragged through the rejoicing streets, when enemies were thrown to the wild beasts in front of the assembled people, the mind did not reel before such unabashed crimes, and the judgment remained unclouded. But slave camps under the flag of freedom, massacres justified by philanthropy or by a taste for the superhuman, in one sense cripple judgment. On the day when crime dons the apparel of innocence — through a curious transposition peculiar to our times — it is innocence that is called upon to justify itself.

The 50th anniversary of the death of Albert Camus

albert_camus.jpg

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the untimely death of Albert Camus, one of my favorite writers and philosophers. He perished as a passenger in a car accident on this date in 1960.

Camus said, in Lyrical and Critical Essays:

Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful.

In The Plague:

The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance which fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. There can be no true goodness, nor true love, without the utmost clear-sightedness.

Update

The Daily Mirror blog has an image of the Los Angeles Times announcement of Camus’ death in this post, “Matt Weinstock, Jan. 4, 1960″. Scroll down a bit to view.