The Rebel Essay

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Albert Camus The Rebel An Essay on Man in Revolt With a Foreword by Sir Herbert Read A revised and complete translation of l'homme revolte by Anthony Bower FIRST VINTAGE INTERNATIONAL EDITION, NOVEMBER 1991 Copyright © 1956 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN: 0679733841 Foreword With the publication of this book a cloud that has oppressed the European mind for more than a century begins to lift. After an age of anxiety, despair, and nihilism, it seems possible once more to hope—to have confidence again in man and in the future. M. Camus has not delivered us by rhetoric, or by any of the arts of persuasion, but by the clarity of his intelligence. His book is a work of logic. Just as an earlier work of his (Le Mythe de Sisyphe) began with a meditation on living or not living—on the implications of the act of suicide—so this work begins with a meditation on enduring or not enduring—on the implications of the act of rebellion. If we decide to live, it must be because we have decided that our personal existence has some positive value; if we decide to rebel, it must be because we have decided that a human society has some positive value. But in each case the values are not "given" —that is the illusionist trick played by religion or by philosophy. They have to be deduced from the conditions of living, and are to be accepted along with the suffering entailed by the limits of the possible. Social values are rules of conduct implicit in a tragic fate; and they offer a hope of creation. The Rebel, that is to say, offers us a philosophy of politics. It is a kind of book that appears only in France, devoted, in a passionate intellectual sense, to the examination of such concepts as liberty and terror. Not that it is a theoretical work—on the contrary, it is an examination of the actual situation of Europe today, informed by a precise historical knowledge of the past two

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