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Title: Camus the Athenian : antiquity and identity in the literature of Albert Camus
Author: Richardson, L. C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 8813
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis focuses on the reception of ancient Greece and Rome in the literature of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, essayist and playwright Albert Camus. It will argue that Camus’ relationship to the ancient world is a confluence of the traditions of European literature and philosophy and the cultural discourses of colonial French Algeria. It also argues that Camus’ interest in the ancient world is representative of broader patterns of reception as a form of identity creation and further explores the specific role this played in colonial societies. Camus wrote essays that engaged strongly with concepts of Greek myths, like Le Mythe de Sisyphe (1942) and L’Homme révolté (1951), in other essays such as l’Été (1953), he wrote more generally about the idea of Greek values as a solution to the problems of modernity. He also wrote a play, Caligula (1942), based on the life of the Roman Emperor as well as early essays about visits to Roman ruins, published in Noces (1938). Greco-Roman antiquity was a continuous presence in his literature and imagination, from his University Diploma to works he was drafting at the time of his death in 1960. This aspect of his work has however received little critical attention. This thesis argues that to understand the importance of the ancient world in Camus’ literature one has to view it as a product of his relationships to his most importance influences and the literary culture in which he wrote. It will discuss Camus as part of a continuum of ideas about the ancient world that is subtly shaped and altered by its use in French Algeria, and how his relationship to Greece and Rome highlights critical aspects in the development of his thought. A study of Camus allows one to explore a number of questions about the lasting fascination with ancient culture in the consciousness of modernity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available