An analysis of the use of height in the prose fiction of Albert Camus

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rita Holmes Gladsky (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Roch Smith

Abstract: In Le Mythe de Sisyphe (1941), Camus introduced the metaphor which most aptly and succinctly expressed his view of the human condition. Both his thought and his art can be at least partially measured through his use and refinement of the Sisyphus metaphor which unites all his work. Within this basic image of ascent, height, and descent, Camus incorporates the romantic elements of the solitary figure, height, and the landscape to symbolize the dilemma of modern man. In fact, his adoption of these basic patterns, postures, and themes invites a comparison with romanticism. Camus' use of the height motif reveals the development of his philosophy and indicates his departure from romanticism. In the early work, L'Etranger, the height motif is incomplete and somewhat inconclusive. But by the time of La Peste, La Chute, and L'Exil et le royaume, the Sisyphus metaphor is in the foreground and the structure of his fiction is centered around it. Moreover, in the early fiction, most notably La Peste, height assumes a positive significance when it becomes not only the occasion for the confrontation with the absurd but also the occasion for the critical moment of friendship between Rieux and Tarrou. As Camus develops his philosophical response to the absurd, it becomes unquestionably clear that high places no longer suffice.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1974
Camus, Albert, $d 1913-1960 $x Criticism and interpretation
Camus, Albert, $d 1913-1960 $x Style
Camus, Albert, $d 1913-1960. $t Mythe de Sisyphe

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