Belknap Press, Hardcover, 9780674072589, 224pp.
Publication Date: May 6, 2013
More than fifty years after Algerian independence, Albert Camus "Algerian Chronicles" appears here in English for the first time. Published in France in 1958, the same year the Algerian War brought about the collapse of the Fourth French Republic, it is one of Camus most political works an exploration of his commitments to Algeria. Dismissed or disdained at publication, today "Algerian Chronicles, " with its prescient analysis of the dead end of terrorism, enjoys a new life in Arthur Goldhammer's elegant translation.
Believe me when I tell you that Algeria is where I hurt at this moment, Camus, who was the most visible symbol of France's troubled relationship with Algeria, writes, as others feel pain in their lungs. Gathered here are Camus strongest statements on Algeria from the 1930s through the 1950s, revised and supplemented by the author for publication in book form.
In her introduction, Alice Kaplan illuminates the dilemma faced by Camus: he was committed to the defense of those who suffered colonial injustices, yet was unable to support Algerian national sovereignty apart from France. An appendix of lesser-known texts that did not appear in the French edition complements the picture of a moralist who posed questions about violence and counter-violence, national identity, terrorism, and justice that continue to illuminate our contemporary world.
Arthur Goldhammer, a translator specializing in French history, literature, philosophy, and social science, has translated more than a hundred works by many of France's most noted authors. He is on the editorial board of the journal French Politics, Culture and Society and in 1996 was named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture.
Alice Kaplan is the author of "French Lessons: A Memoir", "The Collaborator", "The Interpreter", and "Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis", and the translator of OK, Joe, The Difficulty of Being a Dog, A Box of Photographs, and "Palace of Books". Her books have been twice nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Awards, once for the National Book Award, and she is a winner of the "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize. She holds the John M. Musser chair in French literature at Yale. She lives in Guilford, Connecticut.