The Fall (Penguin Modern Classics)

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The Fall (Penguin Modern Classics)

The Fall (Penguin Modern Classics)

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The product of a troubled time in Camus’s life, The Fall is a troubling work, full of brilliant invention, dazzling wordplay, and devastating satire, but so profoundly ironic and marked by so many abrupt shifts in tone as to leave the reader constantly off balance and uncertain of the author’s viewpoint or purpose. This difficulty in discerning the book’s meaning is inherent in its basic premise, for the work records a stream of talk— actually one side of a dialogue—by a Frenchman who haunts a sleazy bar in the harbor district of Amsterdam and who does not trouble to hide the fact that most of what he says, including his name, is invented. Because he is worldly and cultivated, his talk is fascinating and seizes the attention of his implied interlocutor (who is also, of course, the reader) with riveting force. The name he gives himself is Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a name that evokes the biblical figure of the prophet John the Baptist as the voice crying in the wilderness (vox clamantis in deserto) and that coincides neatly with the occupation he claims to follow, also of his own invention: judgepenitent. The Fall ( French: La Chute) is a philosophical novel by Albert Camus. First published in 1956, it is his last complete work of fiction. Set in Amsterdam, The Fall consists of a series of dramatic monologues by the self-proclaimed "judge-penitent" Jean-Baptiste Clamence, as he reflects upon his life to a stranger. In what amounts to a confession, Clamence tells of his success as a wealthy Parisian defense lawyer who was highly respected by his colleagues. His crisis, and his ultimate "fall" from grace, was meant to invoke, in secular terms, the fall of man from the Garden of Eden. The Fall explores themes of innocence, imprisonment, non-existence, and truth. In a eulogy to Albert Camus, existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre described the novel as "perhaps the most beautiful and the least understood" of Camus' books. [1] Setting [ edit ]

Camus' novel The Stranger, sometimes known as The Outsider, follows the life of a man, Meursault, who lives in Algiers. He receives a telegram of his mother's death, and the story is about him dealing with the events that unfold. A theme throughout the book is the idea that there is no inherent purpose to human life. In the book, Camus points out that the only certainty in life is death since all human beings die. Throughout the novel, Meursault moves towards this realization, and by the end of the book, he finally grasps this. For much of the book, Meursault is indifferent to the world around him. Ultimately, he realizes the world has also been indifferent to him. The Plague Of semi-proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest, he came at the age of 25 years in 1938; only chance prevented him from pursuing a university career in that field. The man and the times met: Camus joined the resistance movement during the occupation and after the liberation served as a columnist for the newspaper Combat.It’s hard to imagine The Fall having the impact on someone in their 30s that it can on a teenager. Regarded from the 21st century, existentialism, with its trench-coated, smoke-veiled fixation on cosmic indifference, seems like the troubled adolescence of humankind: it was a phase we were going through. As a novelist, Camus was an ideas man, and the main idea driving The Fall – that altruism is covert self-gratification, while charm, social success, and sexual conquest belie a will to absolute dominion – stops feeling like news around age 20. Clamence then relates the story of how a famous fifteenth-century painting, a panel from the Ghent Altarpiece known as The Just Judges, came into his possession. One evening a regular patron of Mexico City entered the bar with the priceless painting and sold it for a bottle of jenever to the bartender who, for a time, displayed the piece prominently on the wall of his bar. (Both the man who sold the painting and the now-vacant place on the wall where it hung are cryptically pointed out at the beginning of the novel.) However, Clamence eventually informs the bartender that the painting is in fact stolen, that police from several countries are searching for it, and offers to keep it for him; the bartender immediately agrees to the proposal. Clamence attempts to justify his possession of the stolen painting in a number of ways, primarily "because those judges are on their way to meet the Lamb, because there is no lamb or innocence any longer, and because the clever rascal who stole the panel was an instrument of the unknown justice that one ought not to thwart" (Camus 346).

Origin and his experiences of this representative of non-metropolitan literature in the 1930s dominated influences in his thought and work. An utterly fascinating book that might with half-truth be called a novel, or a monologue, or a character sketch, but which is largely a philosophical thesis, and inquiry- bristling with wit. "The Fall" is of course the fall of the angels, recorded satanically by Jean-Baptiste Clemence, a former Parts lawyer now following the self-invented vocation of judge- penitent in Amsterdam. He records his change from a most worthy defender of widows and orphans and other "noble" causes, and from a lover of the good things in life, to an associate of thieves, murderers and panderers in the dive where he now makes his headquarters, devoting himself to the conversion of others to his view of life. His progress is both fantastic and quite logical, both full of suspense and paradox. It does not constitute a novel, but rather a metaphysical search in a barely fictional form. It will have a purely intellectual appeal- its implications as well as its references and its analogies are recondite. But if in this case, Camus is the devil- his translator Justin O'Brien is a brilliant advocate. Life in Amsterdam [ edit ] Copy of the panel from the Ghent Altarpiece known as The Just Judges by Jef Van der Veken. The original was stolen in 1934 and never recovered.

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One of the most inspiring lessons to take away from Camus' philosophy is to face the modern world bravely. Camus' third response to the Absurd is to accept and embrace it. This way, we do not have the pressure of being accountable to another meaning and can choose how to live our lives. This is a concept Camus found freeing, and we should, too. The time demanded his response, chiefly in his activities, but in 1947, Camus retired from political journalism. To assert in any case that a man must be absolutely cut off from society because he is absolutely evil amounts to saying that society is absolutely good, and no-one in his right mind will believe this today.’

Clamence proceeds to "destroy that flattering reputation" (Camus 326) primarily by making public comments that he knows will be received as objectionable: telling beggars that they are "embarrassing people," declaring his regret at not being able to hold serfs and beat them at his whim, and announcing the publication of a "manifesto exposing the oppression that the oppressed inflict on decent people." In fact, Clamence even goes so far as to consider Jean-Baptiste Clamence - refined, handsome, forty, a former successful lawyer - is in turmoil. Over several drunken nights he regales a chance acquaintance with his story. He talks of parties and his debauchery, of Parisian nights and the Aegean sea, and, ultimately, of his self-loathing. One of Albert Camus' most famous works, The Fall is a brilliant, complex portrayal of lost innocence and the true face of man. Read more Details But The Fall is famous for more than its interesting narrative technique. For one, it was written by Albert Camus, a French thinker known for his philosophy of the absurd, a close cousin to existentialism, and his frenemy status with Jean-Paul Sartre, another French philosopher of the mid-1900s. (Note that throughout his life Camus maintained that he was not an existentialist.) Now, Camus is most famous for three big novels. The first is The Stranger, published in 1942, which tells the story of a detached, emotionless man convicted of murder, who finds existential freedom while in prison awaiting his death. The second is The Plague, in 1947, which revolves around an outbreak of the bubonic plague in an Algerian town, and the struggle of its citizens to deal with human suffering. And of course, the third is The Fall, in 1956, published shortly before Camus was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize in Literature. Camus died only three years afterwards, making The Fall his final piece of fiction. Albert Camus was born in Mondovi, Algeria, on November 7 1913. He grew up impoverished in an already poor country. Despite these circumstances, Camus still made school his priority. He worked odd jobs to pay for his education and attended the University of Algiers. This necessary and continuous fall is the theme of the novel. It is one unforgiving, vertiginous descent. It is not a story of gradual discovery and ascent as in Sartre’s Nausea. In Nausea you see the picture that you should be painting of yourself. In The Fall you see the anti-thesis that you should use as your anti-model, as the one point which gives meaning to your picture by not being painted.Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. His childhood was poor, although not unhappy. He studied philosophy at the University of Algiers, and became a journalist as well as organizing the Théâtre de l'équipe, a young avant-garde dramatic group.

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