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Albert Camus’s ‘The New Mediterranean Culture’

A Text and its Contexts


Neil Foxlee

This book was shortlisted for the R.H. Gapper prize 2011.
On 8 February 1937 the 23-year-old Albert Camus gave an inaugural lecture for a new Maison de la culture, or community arts centre, in Algiers. Entitled ‘La nouvelle culture méditerranéenne’ (‘The New Mediterranean Culture’), Camus’s lecture has been interpreted in radically different ways: while some critics have dismissed it as an incoherent piece of juvenilia, others see it as key to understanding his future development as a thinker, whether as the first expression of his so-called ‘Mediterranean humanism’ or as an early indication of what is seen as his essentially colonial mentality.
These various interpretations are based on reading the text of ‘The New Mediterranean Culture’ in a single context, whether that of Camus’s life and work as a whole, of French discourses on the Mediterranean or of colonial Algeria (and French discourses on that country). By contrast, this study argues that Camus’s lecture – and in principle any historical text – needs to be seen in a multiplicity of contexts, discursive and otherwise, if readers are to understand properly what its author was doing in writing it. Using Camus’s lecture as a case study, the book provides a detailed theoretical and practical justification of this ‘multi-contextualist’ approach.


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Index 325


Index Abbas, Ferhat 137, 219, 277–78, 293–95, 299 Abbou, André 212, 213, 224–33 passim, 260, 297 Académie française 90, 94, 122, 162 Académie méditerranéenne: see ‘L’Humanisme et la Méditerranée’ Acault, Gustave (Camus’s uncle) 139–40, 253 Action Française (movement) 38, 139, 158, 208 Action Française (L’ ) (newspaper) 140, 141, 142 Adamson, Kay 82 Aeschylus 44 Ageron, Charles-Robert, Histoire de l’Algérie contemporaine 88, 206, 299 Aguedal 71 Alger Républicain see Camus and Alger Républicain Algeria, colonial 58, 59, 66, 205–22 passim see also ‘Arabs’; Audisio, colonial attitudes of; Camus, post- colonial interpretations of; Saint-Simonians and coloniza- tion of Algeria Algerian War see Camus and Algerian War Algerianism 52, 65–66, 67, 69, 70, 119–20, 133 see also Randau Alhau, Max 110–11 Amiel, Henri-Frédéric 192 Amis du Manifeste (Les) 293 Amitiés méditerranéennes 97 Amrouche, Jean 70 Amsterdam-Pleyel movement 158 anarchism see Bakunin; Camus and; Stirner Ando, Maki 262 Antar (possible pseudonym for Camus) 297 anti-Semitism 121–22 Algeria 206–7, 208, 209 Camus and 229 see also Bertrand and anti-Semitism; Dreyfus Affair; Maurras and anti- Semitism Appels de l’Orient (Les) 5, 177, 187–93 Apter, Emily 61–62 ‘Arabs’ (Algerian/North African Muslims) Audisio on 133 Bertrand on 95, 120 Camus on 45, 55, 59–61, 213, 273, 274–75, 293 Aragon, Louis, manifestos signed by 145, 147, 159 Archambault, Paul 227–28 Arjakovky, Antoine 197 Arnold, A.J. 244 Asiaticism/asiatisme...

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