“Abstraction”, anti-intellectualisme, autocritique chez le jeune Camus

Foxlee, Neil (2010) “Abstraction”, anti-intellectualisme, autocritique chez le jeune Camus. In: La Revue des Lettres Modernes: Albert Camus. La revue des lettres modernes, 22 . University of Lausanne (UNIL), Paris, France, pp. 155-173. ISBN 978-2256901362

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Camus’s rejection of ‘abstraction’ in favour of the concrete is widely recognized as a key element of his world-view and a theme that runs through much of his work. Drawing on Camus’s references to his family background and early intellectual influences (Bergson and Nietzsche) in his juvenilia, this article argues that the roots of this preoccupation lie in a self-critical reaction against his youthful anti-intellectualism. In coming to terms with himself as an intellectual whose intelligence threatened to separate him from his working-class roots, Camus distinguished between a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ intelligence, identifying the latter with rationalism and ‘abstraction’.

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