Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rebel Without A Pause

Albert Camus, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 -- 12/10/1957 Stockholm acceptance:

[The writer’s] art must not compromise with lies and servitude which, wherever they rule, breed solitude. Whatever our personal weaknesses may be, the nobility of our craft will always be rooted in two commitments, difficult to maintain: the refusal to lie about what one knows and the resistance to oppression.

For more than twenty years of an insane history, hopelessly lost like all the men of my generation in the convulsions of time, I have been supported by one thing: by the hidden feeling that to write today was an honor because this activity was a commitment -- and a commitment not only to write. Specifically, in view of my powers and my state of being, it was a commitment to bear, together with all those who were living through the same history, the misery and the hope we shared.

At the same time, after having outlined the nobility of the writer's craft, I should have put him in his proper place. He has no other claims but those which he shares with his comrades in arms: vulnerable but obstinate, unjust but impassioned for justice, doing his work without shame or pride in view of everybody, not ceasing to be divided between sorrow and beauty, and devoted finally to drawing from his double existence the creations that he obstinately tries to erect in the destructive movement of history.

Birthday: Albert Camus (1913-1960).

Sarah Bengayon. Algeria Libre.

Birthday: Yunjin Kim, armed and dangerous.

Today's Rune: Flow.


Johnny Yen said...

When I was a kid, when my family lived in Chicago's then-bohemian Lincoln Park neighborhood, someone left behind a box of books, which included an old City Lights publication, "Journal For the Protection of All Living Things." In it was a transcription of a speech Camus gave after the war in which he explained why he refused to ally with ideologists and why he opposed the death penalty. It was a major influence on my life.

There was an excellent biography of Camus, cleverly titled "Camus" in 1982 by Patrick McCarthy.

Sidney said...

I've been thinking about the contradictions even in good people. They are certainly what make people interesting.

Charles Gramlich said...

Intersting sentiments on writing. I'm not sure I agree. But it's food for thought.