Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Famous Graves: Albert Camus

....all I ask is that, in the midst of a murderous world, we agree to reflect on murder and to make a choice. After that, we can distinguish those who accept the consequences of being murderers themselves or the accomplices of murderers, and those who refuse to do so with all theri force and being. Since this terrible dividing line does actually exist, it will be a gain if it be clearley marked. Over the expanse of five continents throughout the coming years an endless struggle is going to be pursued between violence and friendly persuasion, a struggle in which, granted, the former has a thousand times the chances of success than that of the latter. But I have always held that, if he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circumstances is a coward. And henceforth, the only honorable course will be to state everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions.
-Albert Camus - Neither Victims nor Executioners (1946)
translated by Dwight Macdonald and published 1947

Albert Camus was born in Mondovia, Algeria on 7 November 1913. His father was killed in the Battle of the Marne, 1914. Camus started writing seriously before he was twenty and he studied philosophy at the University of Algeria. He moved to France in 1938 after his first book of essays was published (1937). During World War II he edited the French underground newspaper Combat and was an active member of the French resistance. Following the war he rejected the use of violence to gain political objectives. His publication Neither Victims nor Executioners is an eloquent testimony as to the futility and inherent destructiveness of violence. A car in which he was a passenger crashed on 4 January 1960 ending his life at the age of 46.

My favorite first line of all times is from an Albert Camus novel, The Stranger (1942)
Aujourd'hui,maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas. J'ai reçu un télégramme de l'asile : "Mère décédée. Enterrement demain." Sentiments distingués. Cela ne veut rien dire. C'était peut-être hier.

Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know. I had a telegram from the home: 'Mother passed away. Funeral tomorrow. Yours sincerely.' That doesn't mean anything. It may have happened yesterday.

Camus is buried in the Lourmarin Cemetery in Lourmarin France.


Anonymous said...

where is Lourmarin? Must read some Camus.

Fanty said...

Lourmarin is in The Provence - we deliberately went through the village of Lourmarin (to see the grave of Camus) on our way to Aix-en-Provence - so we could visit Cezanne's studio.

Lourmarin is considered in the Luberon area...the home of many wonderful wines!