Andrew Hussey

Slugging It Out

The Boxer and the Goalkeeper: Sartre Vs Camus

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To anybody who did A-level French in the 1970s, the nature of the famous feud between Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, the twin giants of French philosophy and literature, was not only a compulsory exam question but also pretty much an incomprehensible affair. The two authors had started out as uneasy friends, drawn together by a common interest in the big issues of the day (the French Resistance, the ethics of violence, communism). They also shared an enthusiasm for women, alcohol and general carousing on the Left Bank. But before long the alliance had degenerated into a vicious and sometimes childish rivalry. 

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