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The Myth of Sisyphus, by Albert Camus; Literary and Philosophical Essays, by Jean-Paul Sartre

- Abstract

It is not merely a coincidence of publication dates which brings Sartre and Camus simultaneously to my desk. We can scarcely imagine them apart; for they came into existence together for the American mind, a package deal and the chief cultural importation from postwar France. There has been attached to both from the beginning the same chic aura: Existentialism and the philosophy of the absurd, equally and indistinguishably the latest from Paris for the readers of Partisan Review or Commentary or eventually Life itself. Yet it is hard to think of two men temperamentally more different. Reading their essays, one’s first reaction is to cry out in protest, to try to separate them once and for all before their journalistic yoking is translated into the textbooks and they go down into history as immutably and ridiculously twinned as Wyatt and Surrey.

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