“A Camus Syndrome” Lecture by Alice Kaplan


Monday, March 10, 2014
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


The annual Adda Bozeman Lecture is presented by Alice Kaplan, John M. Musser Professor of French, who chairs the Department of French at Yale University. Since Camus’ death in 1960, assessments of the man, the writer, the thinker, the moral figure have been wildly unstable. First considered solely from a philosophical angle, as part of a “school of existentialists,” Camus then became a symbol of retrenchment, an enemy of Algerian independence. Postcolonial critics attacked him for erasing Algerian Arabs from his fictional landscapes. Since the Algerian “dirty wars” of the 1990s, he has been reclaimed by many Algerian intellectuals as a model of courage; in France and in the United States, he has become the exemplar of antitotalitarian, antiterrorist thinking.


To measure this instability, Kaplan will look first at Camus’ most famous reader, Sartre. She will then focus specifically on Camus and the Algerian question, and finally on contemporary readers. By concentrating on the ways Camus has been understood by intellectuals, by institutions, and by critics, she hopes to track the uneven way his star has risen and fallen over the years. What she is proposing – to borrow Henry Rousso’s formula – is to account for a “Camus syndrome.”


Kaplan is a specialist of 20th-century French literature, whose work addresses the intersection of literature, history, and politics. She is the editor of the first English language translation of Camus’ Algerian Chronicles, published last April by Harvard University Press. Her recent books include Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis (2012); The Interpreter (2005), and The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach (2000), all from the University of Chicago Press. She writes regularly on French-American topics for the French journal Contreligne (www.contreligne.eu)


Event Location and Ticket Information

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Donnelley Film Theatre/Lecture Hall in the Heimbold Visual Arts Center
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, New York
Handicap Accessible? Yes

Date: Monday, March 10, 2014
Times: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Ticket pricing:
Free event

Presenter Phone: 914-395-2412

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