“Even for someone familiar with the dispute from biographies or the history of cold-war intellectual skirmishes, the dossier of materials assembled in Sartre and Camus: A Historic Confrontation will prove a revelation.”
“…[an] exemplary collection…includes not only the pertinent documents…but essays by American scholars that give the background and the context of the fallout.”
“Readers will not only be drawn into the issues raised by these two great thinkers but realize that their debate is still with us, perhaps more forcefully than ever.”
In 1952, Jean-Paul Sartre engaged Albert Camus in a celebrated and bitter public confrontation that had wide-ranging cultural significance. The year before, Camus had challenged the prevailing political wisdom in his renowned work, The Rebel.
In response he was attacked in print, first by Francis Jeanson writing in Les Temps Modernes,
a journal edited by Sartre, and then by Sartre himself. In a series of highly publicized articles, these literary and cultural titans locked horns over human values, social and political policy, the nature of human freedom, the meaning of history, and the direction that Western civilization should take.
This book contains the first English translation of the five texts constituting this famous philosophical quarrel. Personally animated, passionately argued, polemically focused, this confrontation was as much a personal encounter as it was a theoretical debate. Alternating between stylistic brilliance and stinging sarcasm, each draws upon their years of past involvement as former friends both to make their criticisms more pointed and their theoretical critique more challenging. At the same time, their views serve as lightning rods for the wider cultural forces of which they are partial expressions.
In addition to the two Camus and Jeanson articles, and a revised and corrected version of Sartre’s article, the volume includes a detailed biographical and critical introduction, which sets the historical context, plus two new essays by contemporary scholars presenting both a “Sartrean” and a “Camusian” perspective on the cultural and philosophical significance of this historic confrontation. Readers will not only be drawn into the issues raised by these two great thinkers but realize that their debate is still with us, perhaps more forcefully than ever.
Book Binding: Hardcover
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
David A. Sprintzen (Syosset, NY) is professor of philosophy at C. W. Post College of Long Island University and the author of Camus: A Critical Examination.
Adrian van den Hoven (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) is professor of French at the University of Windsor, executive editor of Sartre Studies International, and translator of Jean-Paul Sartre and Benny Lévy’s Hope Now: The 1980 Interviews and of J.-P. Sartre’s Truth and Existence.
Critical Acclaim for Sartre and Camus
"This fascinating record of the historic clash after the Second World War between Sartre and Camus, France's two best known left-wing intellectuals, continues to resonate today. Not to be missed!" - Tom Rockmore, Professor of Philosophy, Duquesne University
"David A. Sprintzen’s and Adrian van den Hoven’s book is a very important contribution to English readers of Sartre and Camus. It makes available, for the first time, a translation of all the texts that comprise the notorious 1952 quarrel between two of the intellectual giants of the 20th century. In addition, this very carefully considered translation is accompanied by discerning commentaries by both Sprintzen himself – the leading philosophical commentator on Camus in North America today – and by two other distinguished thinkers: Jeff Isaac, likely the best contemporary political analyst of Camus’ works, and William McBride, one of the most prolific and respected philosophical writers on Sartre’s political theory in the world today. This book is a 'must' for all those eager to understand the complexities and idiosyncrasies of this unfortunate 'confrontation'." - Ronald E. Santoni, Maria Theresa Barney Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Denison University and author of Sartre on Violence – Curiously Ambivalent, and Bad Faith, Good Faith and Authenticity in Sartre’s Early Philosophy