This book starts with the tragic scene of Albert Camus' death and ends with one of his quotes which says dying in a car accident is a "stupid death".
Camus died on January 4, 1960 at the age of 46, in a car accident near Sens, in Le Grand Fossard in the small town of Villeblevin.
Albert Camus the prophet of absurdity of twentieth century was born on 7th October 1913, in Mondovi form parents who immigrated to Algeria as a place for their living. His father died a year later in battle of Marne during world war I. His mother who first was a house cleaner, after his husband's death came back to his grandmother's house shamefully. An illiterate mother who wasn't healthy. Who was always silent and never fondled him because she didn't know what that meant…he felt pity for her.
Albert Camus' last novel,The First Man, which manuscripts of it was found in a car in which he was killed in an accident, somehow is his own autobiography. A child from an emigrant family who lived in poor areas of a city. Later on this fact made him think differently about cruel colonists and low and labor class emigrants who were forced to come to another country for job.
This graphical book is a critic of his works more than his biography alone. The second investigated book is Exile and the Kingdom which is a story of a factory that after an unsuccessful strike a dark and hostile space developed between the workers and the owner. The space of this novel is symbolically an indicator of the cultural situation in Algeria which was a mixture of Arabic, French and Spanish labors. Camus loves this picture of Algeria. And this picture later on would have a great effect on his political decisions.
Unlike all other French writers, Camus did not have an intellectual past. In their house there wasn't a big library. Their grandmother governed on them strictly and made them work after school. The young Camus was in love with football and he himself said later that all his understandings of morality were formed on football ground. He had to leave football in 1930 because of his body's betrayal: He was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
Unlike many people of his century he had certain expectations from communism and never turned to Marxist – Leninist philosophy. For him, a political party was limited only to balancing the Algerian Arabic labor's situations.
In 1938, Camus started working as an ethical journalist in Alger Républicain newspaper. He wrote of injustices. He had a special style in journalism. He used first person verbs and never forgot to sympathy with the oppressed people.
By approaching war, Camus volunteered as a soldier but was rejected because of his TB disease. He couldn't do anything else but journalism. At that time Alger Républicain was closed and he became the editor of Soir Républicain newspaper. But after a while he was "proposed" by the governor to leave the Algeria.
Albert Camus presence in Paris was coincided with Hitler's army entrance to soil of France. Camus started his activity at Paris Soir newspaper and it was there where he began his three of greatest works in absurd philosophy: The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus and Caligula.
MOTHER died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure. The telegram from the Home says: YOUR MOTHER PASSED AWAY.FUNERAL TOMORROW.DEEP SYMPATHY. Which leaves the matter doubtful; it could have been yesterday.
The absurd protagonist of The Stranger doesn't have any feeling for his mother's death. Meursault smokes and drinks coffee next to his mother's coffin.
When the Nazi Germany occupied half of France, the young Camus didn't cooperate with them. At that time he performed his last modifications on his second greatest work , The Myth of Sisyphus that he was working on it for more than 5 years.
There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide.
This book wasn't written without being impressed by political situations of its own time. In fact this book was a reflection of fascism threat on global system. The main question of Camus is that without any moral and spiritual reference, what should be done against the huge wave of irrationality?
The third work of Camus is Caligula which was known as his most famous play. Caligula can be a symbol of Hitler . When he realized that the world is absurd starts a mass destruction. Unlike Muersault who couldn't change the world, Caligula was so powerful.
Since 1942, Camus joined Combat, an anti-Fascist group and worked as a journalist in a newpaper with the same name. the first issue of the newspaper in Paris with its famous headline, From Resistance to Revolution had a strong unsigned article in its first page:
Paris is firing all its ammunition into the August night. Against a vast backdrop of water and stone, on both sides of a river awash with history, freedom's barricades are once again being erected. Once again justice must be redeemed with men's blood.
The clear Rhetoric of the article revealed the author.
In 1943, the Nazis occupied the southern region of France. Camus analogizes their presence in France to Plague in his new and famous novel.
In 1945 by atomic attack of America to Japan, while many of journalists and writers were silent, Camus was the only person who had an active and clear position:
Mechanical civilization has just reached its final degree of savagery. We are going to have to choose, in a future that is more or less imminent, between collective suicide and the intelligent use of scientific conquests.
Albert Camus' friendship with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir was formed in Café Flore. Despite his steady companionship with them, Camus never considered himself an Existentialist.
In his after war headlines, the word "rebel" is seen repetitively after "Absurd" word. This word finally became the title of a book which was published in 1951.
In absurdist experience, suffering is individual. But from the moment when a movement of rebellion begins, suffering is seen as a collective experience.
He exhibited the rebellion phenomenon first in a novel, The Plague then in a philosophical work, The Rebel and finally as a play, The Just Assassins.
After publishing The Rebel, Camus was criticized sharply followed by the famous letter of Jean-Paul Sartre that by a quarrel their friendship ended.
In war of Algeria, Camus because of his attachment to that country (still his mother and sister lived there) had a discrete approach. He believed in a peaceful coexistence of French descent Algerians (that finally had to leave this country) and native Arabs. But this beliefs were denied both by many Arab and French people. He published The Guest which was related to these political situations.
The last novel by Albert Camus which was published in final years of his life is The Fall which according to many critics like Sartre is his best work.
In 1975, Camus published a book which was obviously beyond his time: Reflections on Guillotine. In this book, he called Guillotine "The sadistic essence of government". Camus writes about the death penalty as a relic of the past:
The criminal is killed because he has been killed for centuries, and furthermore he is killed according to a procedure established at the end of the eighteenth century. The same arguments that have served as legal tender for centuries are perpetuated as a matter of routine, contradicted only by those measures which the evolution of public sensibility renders inevitable.
Having read almost all of the books mentioned above and intending to read The Rebel soon, I really didn't know that Albert Camus was such a great man…I love him.
In a boring afternoon of one of these days of June, I chose Le Grand Meaulnes immediately in the local library right after the librarian's alarm that they were closing. It was French and I thought I had a glance on a review before. By reading a few pages of it, I realized that it was a young adult story of two boys François and his best friend Meaulnes who lived in a lower-class school in a village. Narrating in a first person, I thought despite its title there was no trace of Meaulnes himself. I thought "No, I don't feel like reading this", I even wanted to interrupt. But because I did not have any other fiction unread in my bookshelves I continued reading. Well...is it a Tim Burton transcription? Mysterious abandoned house in the middle of a jungle… kids…girls dancing...a mysterious party. I kept reading and then again came back to the little preface and read it carefully to find out what kind of French classic it was:
This little mysterious masterpiece with its astounding simplicity and purity, and its deep sensitivity that is used for showing the feelings and emotions of a little mysterious world full of hope and sadness, has influenced strongly many works after itself.
It is going to be a love story? Although the blurb says anotherThe catcher in the rye but I thought maybe The great Gatsbytoo, unless it is not historical at all. In the middle of the book I thought that it was going to find its shape and kind of unputdownable because everything seemed to be finished and still half of the book remained. Well, he finds a mysterious house and a mysterious girl. Then all his life he searches for that house and girl. He becomes a wanderer. The magic and mysteriousness of that house and atmosphere unconsciously form his feelings. He searches maybe not to find the girl but to find that feeling again.
By finishing the book I had this feeling that it had that message of Gustave Flaubert in Sentimental Education. By depicting that this book declares the end of romanticism and its possible natural consequences, the protagonist, the great Meaulnes is the symbol of a transition.
It is said that a poll of French readers some years ago placed this book sixth of all 20th-century books, just behind Proust and Camus and also it has been twice filmed.
But you may ask why The Years and not Mrs. Dalloway first? I don't know. I think it was a fortunate to find it in my local library and by reading a few pages of it, I realized that I must read it first. Did you know that I tried to read Mrs. Dalloway for more than 3 times, and even once I read almost half of the book, but I failed to finish it? I was losing my hope. I thought Woolf is not my type.
Reading A room of one's own opened my eyes to many things. That Virginia Woolf mainly concentrates on what kinds of things around us. Let me think. It is a book on women, writing and novels but you see she's describing a cat without a tail in the yard of Oxford University. Amazing huh? And then she compares herself with that cat. I don't think she was a revolutionary feminist. She didn't write a book like The golden notebook of Doris Lessing. She is not The woman destroyed of Simone de Beauvoir, despite her life. I think she was beyond all these things. Although I am not a professional Woolf reader, after reading the years I felt I discovered something new in my life: a new author, a new kind of writing above all kinds of hatred, a new kind of womanhood in fact.
She's smart. She has her own style. She's strong. She's different.
The Years is like I can say The Waves that I have read it years ago, I could finish it but I don't think I wholly understood it, because of a bad translation or perhaps it's untranslatable or maybe I wasn't yet a mature reader. It is the story of a family. There are 4 sisters and 3 brothers living in a big house with their sick mother and father. This is how it starts. The title of each chapter is a certain year. It goes for decades for almost fifty years until each one of the characters gets old.
What we expect from a Woolf novel should not be a mixture of events which supposedly must constitute a special year (chapter). Like chapter 1914 which is describing only one day, they are snapshots of a period od time. I realized that I should read it like a poem, a long poem of winds, clouds, leaves, pigeons, sounds and noise, seasons , streets and London. Each chapter starts with a description of a special season and then characters are floating in these natural frames.
It was January. Snow was falling; snow had fallen all day. The sky spread like a grey goose’s wing from which feathers were falling all over England. The sky was nothing but a flurry of falling flakes. Lanes were levelled; hollows filled; the snow clogged the streams; obscured windows, and lay wedged against doors.
This is beautiful to see that how characters remain themselves by passing years. How for instance Sara poetically reacts to other people's behavior in her 40's like her 20's. Or how Woolf manages that her characters remembers those memories from years ago that we have read about them in previous chapters and it was for me a reminiscence of reading Proust. I think one main special characteristics of Woolf's is that you have to participate in the novel. Although she puts some clues in different places but you have to guess some things yourself. And that makes it a mysterious reading.
The main characters are mainly women. One thing that I really liked about them was that Woolf sometimes sees them from the eyes of other people, an old man sitting in front of them in a bus for instance:
The man on whose toe she had trodden sized her up; a well-known type; with a bag; philanthropic; well nourished; a spinster; a virgin; like all the women of her class, cold; her passions had never been touched; yet not unattractive. She was laughing. . . .
That above sentence looked so natural to me. I mean as she herself says in A room of one's own, a successful female author writes beyond her gender. And Woolf proves that she is like that.
Sociology remains a male-dominated discipline, and this has fundamental implications for its theories, methods, research and teaching.
…malestream sociology has in the main seen women’s roles as natural and therefore not investigated or problematised them; sociology’s tools, concepts and theories have been developed to investigate the public world of men and are inadequate for investigating the world that women inhabit and the relationships between men and women. Questions such as ‘Why don’t men care for children?’, ‘Why do men and not women have leisure?’, become key issues to be researched and explained. Concepts such as social class are seen to be inadequate as theorised in malestream research (see Chapter 3), and the methods used in malestream research are seen to be inadequate for investigating women’s lives.
The sociology of education has been concerned primarily with examining class inequalities in educational achievement, and especially the relative failure of workingclass children in obtaining educational qualifications. Until recently, sociologists have overlooked other important dimensions of educational differentiation – for example, gender and racial differences in achievement. Feminists have argued that girls are not only disadvantaged in the educational system, but that it is there that they learn to be subordinate and to accept dominant ideologies of femininity and masculinity. Girls, for example, come to see themselves as less important than boys and specifically as ‘no good’ at mathematics and sciences. Girls are apparently channelled into particular subjects that are seen as suitable for them and thus have their opportunities in the labour market severely reduced as a consequence. What needs to be explained is how girls come to accept this.
Housework, the ‘unpaid’ labour of a wife, is worth quite a lot if it had to be paid for at market rates. In 1987 the Legal and General Life Assurance Company estimated that a ‘dependent’ wife was worth £19,253 a year in earnings (quoted in Sunday Times, 29 March 1987). The Company located on a computer the ‘average’ wife, a 37-year-old mother of two named Rosalind Harris. Her work was found to start at 7 a.m. on Monday when she began to prepare the breakfast and to end at 9 p.m. that day (a 14-hour working day). During the week she worked as a shopper, a window-cleaner, a nurse, a driver, a cleaner, a cook and a child-minder. Her total working week was of 92 hours’ duration. (This excludes periods ‘on call’, with the children in bed.)
The newest development in male contraception was unveiled recently at the American Women’s Centre. Dr Sophie Merkin of the Merkin Clinic announced the preliminary findings of a study conducted on 763 unsuspecting male undergraduates at a large mid-Western university. In her report, Dr Merkin stated that the new contraceptive – the IPD – was a breakthrough in male contraception. It will be marketed under the trade name Umbrelly. The IPD (intrapenile device) resembles a tightly rolled umbrella which is inserted through the head of the penis and pushed into the scrotum with a plunger-like device. Occasionally there is a perforation of the scrotum, but this is disregarded as the male has few nerve-endings in this area of his body. The underside of the umbrella contains a spermicidal jelly, hence the name Umbrelly. Experiments on 1000 white whales from the continental shelf (whose sexual apparatus is said to be closest to man’s) proved the IPD to be 100% effective in preventing the production of sperm and eminently satisfactory to the female whale since it does not interfere with her rutting pleasure. Dr Merkin declared the Umbrelly to be statistically safe for the human male. She reported that of the 763 undergraduates tested with the device only two died of scrotal infection, only twenty developed swelling of the testicles and only thirteen were too depressed to have an erection. She stated that common complaints ranged from cramping and bleeding to acute abdominal pains. She emphasised that these symptoms were merely indications that the man’s body had not yet adjusted to the device. Hopefully the symptoms would disappear within a year. One complication caused by the IPD and briefly mentioned by Dr Merkin was the incidence of massive scrotal infection necessitating the surgical removal of the testicles. ‘But this is a rare case,’ said Dr Merkin, ‘too rare to be statistically important.’ She and other distinguished members of the Women’s College of Surgeons agreed that the benefits far outweighed the risk to any individual man.
From Outcome magazine, the East Bay Men’s Centre newsletter, and The Periodical Lunch published by Andrew Rock, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA).
They (men) ask why so few women have participated in political activities rather than asking how men have managed so successfully to exclude women.