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“As they climbed, the space widened and they rose into an ever broader light, cold and dry, in which every sound from the oasis reached them pure and distinct. The bright air seemed to vibrate around them with a vibration increasing in length as they advanced, as if their progress struck from the crystal of light a sound wave that kept spreading out. And as soon as they reached the terrace and their gaze was lost in the vast horizon beyond the palm grove, it seemed to Janine that the whole sky rang with a single short and piercing note, whose echoes gradually filled the space above her, then suddenly died and left her silently facing the limitless expanse.”
Albert Camus, Exile and the Kingdom (The Adulterous Woman)
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What can spirits liberated from hatred as well as weakness learn from the terrifying example of Germany in agony? That in history as in other realms, genius never lies in falsehood but is contained entirely within truth aware of its own power. It took us ten years and millions of dead to recognize this obvious fact. Having paid so dearly for this lesson, at least we won't forget it.
Albert Camus, Camus at Combat (September 15, 1944)
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Albert Camus and María Casares
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Where can the necessary solitude be found, the long breathing space in which the mind gathers its strength and takes stock of its courage? …There is not enough silence.
Albert Camus, Personal Writings
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“Have you no hope at all? And do you really live with the thought that when you die, you die, and nothing remains?” “Yes,” I said. -Albert Camus, The Stranger
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i'll be buried here with you
franz kafka // chris peters // art by @ossuariumfloreus // skulls by bastille // laura gilpin // chris peters // in a week by hozier // los amantes de teruel // albert camus // skulls by bastille // mary oliver // x // moroni scarneo monument (milano)
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“My love, this is a letter I've been thinking about writing to you for a long time. Don't worry, it's a good letter and has nothing to do with what tears us apart. Simply, as this general was going on, I was more and more sad at the idea that you were going to find yourself and feel alone, and I promised myself to leave you a testimony that could accompany you a little and help you to live in me and with me, in this night that is ours. But I didn't think that I would find myself as tired as I am and I'm not sure I could tell you what I wanted. I'll try though.
In a little while, you'll leave without me. That alone already leaves me in rage and distress. But you need to know that you are not alone and that I am going to live, breathe, and cry with only you all this time. I know that there is a part of loneliness in everything that no one can reach. That is the part I respect the most and when it comes to you, I have never tried to touch it or annex it. But in everything else, I also know that there is not one of your pains or joys that I cannot share.
We have many obstacles to overcome before we can truly experience this love that now suffocates me all day and night long (and the nights of lonely desire and love are heavy and long). We will overcome them. But I already know that I am bound to you by the strongest bond in life. This is what I wanted to explain to you, because I never knew how to do it.
Sometimes they say that you choose this being or that being. I didn't choose you. You entered, by chance, into a life I wasn't proud of, and from that day on something started to change, slowly, in spite of me, in spite of you too, who was then far away, then turned to another life. What I have said, written or done since the spring of 1944 has always been profoundly different from what has happened to me and in me before. I have breathed better, I have hated less, I have freely admired what deserved to be admired.
Before you, outside of you, I didn't adhere to anything. This force that you sometimes mocked, was never but a solitary force, a force of refusal. With you, I've accepted more things. I learned to live, in a way. It's not true that one becomes better, and I know everything I'll always miss. But we accept more or less who we are and what we do. That's how you really grow up and become a man. With you, I feel like a man. It is for this no doubt that he has always mingled with my love an immense gratitude. And my only concern is that I doubt I can give you as much as you gave me.
I cry each of your tears, then, because I feel miserable and helpless and because I remain forbidden, with this great cry of tenderness and devotion that I swallow. More pain has come to me from you than I ever expected from a being. Even today, your thought in me is mixed with suffering. But with so much distress, your face remains for me that of happiness and life. I can do nothing, I have done nothing for this, but to abandon myself to this love that made the emptiness in me, before filling me up to the heart. Made as I am, there is nothing more to do either, I know it well, and I will love you until the end.
You see, I'm writing you a love letter. It is love to be able to love the enemy at the same time as the dear accomplice until the moment when everything melts into this powerful happiness that covers the entire space of life in an instant. Tonight you will be beautiful and wonderful, as I love you, as I always hope without ever being disappointed. I'm wrong, you are reading me right now, you have been beautiful and wonderful, and I, in the midst of the crowd, held you tight against me, desperately, as I hold you at this moment with all that is most proud in my love.“
- Albert Camus to Maria Casarès, Correspondance, December 14, 1949* [#102]
* Day of the General Meeting of the Righteous at the Théâtre Hébertot, attended by Albert Camus, despite his poor state of health.
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Albert Camus with his children Jean and Catherine
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A violent childhood, adolescent daydreams to the hum of the bus's engines, mornings, the freshness of young girls, beaches, young muscles always tensed, the slight anguish that the evening brings to a sixteen-year-old heart, the desire to live, glory, and always the same sky, for months on end, with its inexhaustible strength and light, as companion to the years, a sky insatiable, one by one devouring victims lying crucified upon the beach at the funereal hour of noon.
Albert Camus, Summer (Return to Tipasa)
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So Knopf US is publishing a NEW TRANSLATION of Albert Camus’ The Plague in November. The new translation was done by Laura Marris.This is the translation being used in this new reading of the novel: https://publicthings.substack.com/p/interesting-times
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"When a ruling class measures its fortunes, not by the acre of land or the ingot of gold, but by the number of figures corresponding ideally to a certain number of exchange operations, it thereby condemns itself to setting a certain kind of humbug at the center of its experience and its universe. A society founded on signs is, in its essence, an artificial society in which man’s carnal truth is handled as something artificial. There is no reason for being surprised that such a society chose as its religion a moral code of formal principles and that it inscribes the words “liberty” and “equality” on its prisons as well as on its temples of finance."
Albert Camus, Create Dangerously
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Albert Camus in the market in 1953.
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“Yesterday was Saturday, and Marie came over as we'd planned. I wanted her so bad when I saw her in that pretty red-and-white striped dress and leather sandals. You could make out the shape of her firm breasts, and her tan made her face look like a flower.”
Albert Camus, The Stranger
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But worst of all is that they’re forgotten, and they know it. Their friends have forgotten them because they have other things to think about, naturally enough. And those they love have forgotten them because all their energies are devoted to making schemes and taking steps to get them out of the camp. And by dint of always thinking about these schemes and steps they have ceased thinking about those whose release they’re trying to secure. And that, too, is natural enough. In fact, it comes to this: nobody is capable of really thinking about anyone, even in the worst calamity. For really to think about someone means thinking about that person every minute of the day, without letting one’s thoughts be diverted by anything—by meals, by a fly that settles on one’s cheek, by household duties, or by a sudden itch somewhere. But there are always flies and itches. That’s why life is difficult to live. And these people know it only too well.
—Albert Camus, The Plague
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how hard it must be to live only with what one knows and what one remembers, cut off from what one hopes for!
- Albert Camus, The Plague
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It is love to be able to love the enemy at the same time as the dear accomplice until the moment when everything melts into this powerful happiness that covers the entire space of life in an instant. Tonight you will be beautiful and wonderful, as I love you, as I always hope without ever being disappointed.
Albert Camus to Maria Casarès, Correspondance, December 14, 1949 [#102]
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