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A Life Worth Living

A Life Worth Living [Kindle Edition]

Robert Zaretsky

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"Topics that often crop up in Camus's letters - not only absurdity, but also fidelity, revolt, the need for silence, and the search for "measure" in the Greco-Roman sense of the term - are analysed in Robert Zaretsky's enlightening A Life Worth Living." --John Taylor, Times Literary Supplement, 8 November 2013

"As A Life Worth Living emphasises, he should be remembered as a leading 20th-century intellectual, not simply humanisms favourite quote generator.... Scarcely a linear biography, Zaretsky s thematic study nonetheless convinces that a stubborn defence of the meek was central to the indefatigability that won Camus admirers and enemies in equal measure." --Matthew Feldman, Times Higher Education, 21/11/13

Product Description

Exploring themes that preoccupied Albert Camus--absurdity, silence, revolt, fidelity, and moderation--Robert Zaretsky portrays a moralist who refused to be fooled by the nobler names we assign to our actions, and who pushed himself, and those about him, to challenge the status quo. For Camus, rebellion against injustice is the human condition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 582 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0674724763
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (7 Nov 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #213,589 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for Zarestsky 5 Nov 2013
By Jason Berry - Published on
This is a superb book. Zaretsky draws a bead on the major themes of Camus's work and the forces that shaped his values and personality. We see the deep hold that his childhood in Algeria, experience of poverty and early struggles exerted on Camus throughout his life. From this nuanced portrait of the man and writer one finds fresh insight on Camus, and why he has gained stature over time. Putting human dignity over politics is never easy in any age or system of politics. In the lens of history, Sartre stands diminished by his volatile attack on Camus for The Rebel. Zaretsky handles the literary disputes with a fair hand and cool eye. I have not read such an intelligent account of Camus's reticence during the traumatic debate in France over the military's use of torture against terrorists in the Algerian War, and the nationalist movement in Algeria which we see now as the shape of things to come. It may take another generation, or longer, before Camus is taught in Algerian schools; but when he enters that country's tortured psyche he will open young minds to the possibility of freedom not a moment too soon. In the meantime, "A Life Worth Living" may be the best primer on its subject in print; this is a book worth reading, and re-reading, to appreciate the many dimensions of Camus. -- Jason Berry
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eloquent reminder of Camus' Importance 5 Nov 2013
By John Foley - Published on
In his critical comment on Robert Zaretsky's new book on Camus, A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Search for Meaning, Mr Greenebaum is evidently gripping his reviewer's telescope firmly with both hands, but he seems to be holding it at the wrong end. He accuses Zaretsky of "badly and strangely misstat[ing] facts and ideas," a grotesque calumny offered without any supporting evidence (the fact that the Etienne in Camus' childhood home was identified as a granduncle and not an uncle to Camus may be freighted with especial significance for Mr Greenebaum, but this cannot justify such a review).

Were he to trouble to examine the book again, with a critical but unjaundiced eye, he would notice how Zaretsky's book highlights, in particular, the central importance of human suffering to Camus' work, and, in this light, he would probably be surprised to discover the striking symbolic importance of Prometheus, an importance I believe Zaretsky is among the first to explore in any detail. He would surely be impressed, too, by the many complex thematic connections Zaretsky finds between Camus and Thucydides, Camus and Aeschylus, Camus and Montaigne, Camus and Stendhal, Camus and Orwell, even Camus and Martha Nussbaum and Elaine Scarry. The touch may sometimes be a little light - inevitable in a relatively short book, designed to appeal to a wide audience of intelligent readers - but it is always assured.

A Life Worth Living eloquently recalls us to the many pleasures Camus' works offers the thoughtful reader, the kind of reader I expect Mr Greenebaum may well be, given his evident appreciation of Camus, although his review of Zaretsky's book betrays no sign of it.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 22 Jan 2014
By Erik L. Simon - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A beautiful little book exploring the complex mind of a beautiful writer, a beautiful man. "Yes, there is beauty and there are the humiliated," Camus wrote. "Whatever the difficulties the enterprise may present, I would never like to be unfaithful either to one or the other." I can't imagine a more clear-eyed goal in life.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting man and interesting life 4 July 2014
By paulie - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you want to understand the philosophy of a man with a great mind read this book. You will understand Camus better when you know more about the world he lived in. I did not know he worked with the French Resistance in Nazi occupied France. I also did not know that he died in a car accident in 1961.

The book also takes you into the falling out he had with Sarte. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the man who wrote The Stranger.
5.0 out of 5 stars Camus and the lessons of life!!! 20 Jun 2014
By Jose Gomez-Rivera - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have, over the years, been increasingly drawn to Albert Camus and his joyous, defiant existentialism. The idea, that a life properly lived is one that both embraces the world while defying its absurdity- it's finality and lack of justice, has been a touchstone for me. Zaretsky explores Camus' thought through his works and words; seeking the essence of Camus. This book is an excellent starting point for those interested in Camus as well as a source of reflection for those familiar with the man and his thought.
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