Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Camus in the Panthéon ?

with 2 comments

Albert Camus in the Panthéon ?

Nicolas Sarkozy would like to transfer the ashes of Camus – on the  50th anniversary of his death (the 4th of  January 1960) to the Paris Pantheon. That is the national memorial for GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE (“To the great men, the grateful homeland”). Interment here is severely restricted and is allowed only by a parliamentary act for “National Heroes”.

His son Jean  is opposed (here).

There was an extraordinary brilliant and concise interview with Camus’ biographer, Olivier Todd, in le Monde yesterday (here). Todd, a first-hand witness of the post-War Left Bank, refers to Camus’s brief membership of the Algerican Communist party in 1934 – he left because it failed to support independence movements clearly enough. In the full article (the on-line version is cut), there is an account of the author of the Etranger’s later hesitation about the FLN’s campaign for full independence. And an account of  his disputes with Sartre – right about Stalinism, wrong about anti-colonialism.

Todd’s judgement on Camus is worth citing, ” Camus fut d’abord un écrivain, un artiste, un artisan, beaucoup plus qu’un philosophe dans la série Platon, Kant, Sartre, Wittgenstein.” He was first of all a writer, an artist, a workman, much more than a philosopher in the mould of Plato, Kant, Sartre, Wittgenstein.” This view TC shares.

His courageous Resistance  activity, his journalism,  moral presence on the left, and searing novels deserve better than a credential-boosting stunt by Sarkozy.  

Written by Andrew Coates

November 22, 2009 at 12:55 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Jean Jaurès is already there: http://www.iisg.nl/today/en/23-11.php


    November 24, 2009 at 11:20 am

  2. […] Coates on Camus in the Pantheon. […]

    My obsessions « Poumista

    November 30, 2009 at 7:24 pm

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