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Reviewed by:
  • Algerian Chronicles by Albert Camus
  • Colin Davis (bio)
Albert Camus, Algerian Chronicles, ed. and intro. Alice Kaplan, trans. Arthur Goldhammer ( Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 224 pp.

Written between 1939 and 1958, the articles collected in Algerian Chronicles were first published together in French in 1958, two years before their author’s death and four years before Algerian independence. Camus refused to simplify a complex situation and could not bring himself to give wholehearted support to the independence cause. Siding with neither Right nor Left, he condemned both the indiscriminateness of terrorist violence and the sometimes vicious excesses of the French military. He denounced the abuses of the colonial situation, exposed poverty and famine among the Arab population, and called for massive reparations but remained convinced that Algeria should remain French. More than half a century later, the pathos of Algerian Chronicles comes from understanding Camus’s desperate hope that, with the war of independence raging, it was still not too late to find a humane, just, and lasting solution to the Algerian crisis. The collection stands as a sad testament to the impotence of good intentions.

Colin Davis

Colin Davis, professor of French at Royal Holloway, University of London, is the author of Critical Excess: Overreading in Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas, Žižek, and Cavell; Michel Tournier: Philosophy and Fiction; Elie Wiesel’s Secretive Texts; Ethical Issues in Twentieth-Century French Fiction; Postwar Renoir: Film and the Memory of Violence; and Scenes of Love and Murder: Renoir, Film, and Philosophy.



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