Author Topic: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)  (Read 5264 times)

Twit 2

  • I WAS SEX TOY FOR TOP TORIES
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2020, 01:19:54 PM »
Wouldn't it be reasonable to assume they stopped being friends because of said previous fascist allegiances, rather than because he became apolitical?

You don’t need to assume anything, as this is all documented. There’s plenty of quotes from the one about the other, including on the reasons for them drifting apart. In any case, when they became friends, Cioran’s Iron Guard support was long behind him. If Beckett had a problem with that, he wouldn’t have become friendly with him in the first place. Beckett was a big fan of ‘A Short History of Decay”, with its critiques of fascism and tyrants, a description of Hitler as a monster etc.

Loads of Romanian intellectuals (Eliade and Ionesco among them) briefly fell under the spell of fascism in the 30s and then rejected it by the 40s after emigrating, when they’d got some perspective and distance from it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

NB: another bit of trivia is Cioran rescued Benjamin Fondane from Nazi arrest and was devastated when he was finally killed by them at a later date.

Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2020, 06:24:26 PM »
You don't need to assume anything, as this is all documented. In any case, when they became friends, Cioran's Iron Guard support was long behind him.

Thanks for the clarification. I suppose that rules that out, then.

edit: but that said, do the biographies say whether Cioran was open about his fascist past when he started corresponding with Beckett? One might easily imagine that Beckett was a big fan of Ciroan's "critiques of facism and description of Hitler as a monster", but less than chuffed to realize (several years down the line) that his penpal had jackboots in the closet, so to speak. ...Do discussion of his regrets for his past form part of their correspondence?

I honestly know next to nothing about Ciroan's life or works except for reading that book of aphorisms you recommended, but am happy to learn from an expert, so please excuse my persistence.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 07:15:56 PM by Retinend »

Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2020, 06:29:24 PM »
Good idea for a thread and an interesting opener.

Camus (with the disclaimer that it's been a while since I've read any of this): I don't think Meursault is either martyr or monster[1] - I think the novel is less clearly didactic than either of these readings will allow. Meursault is apathetic and indifferent, a response to the fundamental absurdity of existence and one which leaves him passive, entirely given over to fate and to the present ('the trigger gave', 'Today, maman died'). His character arc, inasmuch as he has one, is a movement from this indifferent surrender to an absurd existence to amor fati, and a recognition that it is not just his own being that lacks meaning, but the entirety of existence itself.
 1. Camus did refer to him as "The only Christ we deserve" - I think this is more an attack on the notion of martyrdom than an identification of Meursault with it.

Thanks! But in all honestly I still do not fully comprehend it. If Camus refers to Meursault as Christ and considers his accusers hypocrites (which I also do not fully understand), and Meursault must face death because of his principle (that life is absurd and he must die to prove it) does that not amount to martyrdom for all intents and purposes?

Bernice

  • a turkey is a bad person (he/him)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2020, 06:46:58 PM »
I suppose I'm probably splitting hairs but the reason I'd say he isn't a martyr is that he doesn't die for anything. He's not trying to prove a point. He is simply indifferent to himself and cannot be otherwise. His death is not heroic, and it does not entail sacrifice.


Twit 2

  • I WAS SEX TOY FOR TOP TORIES
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2020, 07:19:39 PM »
Thanks for the clarification. I suppose that rules that out, then.

edit: but that said, do the biographies say whether Cioran was open about his fascist past when he started corresponding with Beckett? One might easily imagine that Beckett was a big fan of Ciroan's "critiques of facism and description of Hitler as a monster", but less than chuffed to realize (several years down the line) that his penpal had jackboots in the closet, so to speak. ...Do discussion of his regrets for his past form part of their correspondence?

I honestly know next to nothing about Ciroan's life or works except for reading that book of aphorisms you recommended, but am happy to learn from an expert, so please excuse my persistence.

Your points/questions are valid and I’m happy to clarify where I can. I don’t think there’s anything in the literature that goes into whether the fascism was ever discussed. However, in his writings Cioran was very openly disdainful and ashamed of his previous political leanings, so I don’t think he would’ve kept it from him, necessarily.

If you’re after more Cioran, his last collection ‘Anathemas & Admirations’ is a series of essays on some of his contemporaries (including Beckett) interspersed with aphorisms, and is excellent. The scans from  above are from ‘Searching for Cioran’ by his approved translator of his Romanian books into English. She sadly died before finishing it, but it covers his early and last years in good detail and she got quite a lot of info out of him before he declined into dementia.

Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #35 on: December 13, 2020, 08:06:53 PM »
Thanks for the rec! Regarding the scans on page one, it would have been interesting to have gotten on record what Cioran made of "L'Étranger", or what (specifically) Camus had to say of the works-in-profress Ciroan presented him with, other than just "you haven't read enough yet" (and this to a man even two years his senior!). Always interesting, especially the older I get, to see how literary contemporaries regarded one another, especially if it's juicy like that.

My nomination for pseud is Jonathan Safran Foer, an exemplar of what I always think of as 'writerliness': precocious, smart-arsed, vapid pseudo-poiesis. The words "SERIOUS NOVEL" in flashing WordArt. Although, to be fair, I've never finished anything by him.

The film version of "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" (released in 2012) was the closest I came to actually walking out of a cinema for a film plot being simply too hacky/wanky: there is, among the belongings left behind by a dead man, a mysterious key that the child protagonist obsesses over finding the lock for, which is symbolic for him searching for closure for having lost his father. If it sounds cool and interesting... it isn't. Definitely a good nom' for pseuddom in my book 👍

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2020, 11:40:32 AM »
Thinking outside of the box, I'd like to nominate Dan Brown. I honestly can't believe his work's been called 'The greatest use of neurons since Dante's Paradise Lost.' It's like, HELLO?! Am I the only one seeing how cackingly bad he is? His writing wouldn't know arsehole from soul if you gave him a thousand years and endless ink.

-------------------


Pound gets a yes from me. As someone who has learned several languages I know that each of the ones you know is always in some degree of disrepair, and you are always repairing them. Yet Ezra Pound would snatch the most obscure snippets of, say, Spanish and shove them into his poems as if they were well-known phrases. I can speak Spanish and I don't know what he's trying to say with those instances. With Chinese I couldn't tell you, but no doubt he believed he spoke them all without knowing much more than a tourist's version of the language.

A good counterpoint is Eliot:

Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.


Here the German is conversational and implies an international atmosphere.

Bin gar           keine Russin,      stamm’ aus  Litauen,      echt deutsch.
I'm absolutely no     Russian(f)  hale     from Lithuania    very German

"No I'm not a russian I'm from Lithuania actually - with German family roots"

The use of this kind of sentence (which might also be translated in other ways depending on what the tag "echt deutsch" could mean) shows that Eliot isn't just wagging his dick in our face, but is trying to describe a scene that only exists half in English, half in German: the final lines identify this part of the poem with a place: certainly the "south" refers to the alps. The "mountains" connect with the alps. The final sentence describes a spontaneous desire to recapture a childhood wish.


I really like this post. I've never bothered to try to translate it, so thanks. Now I want to read it again.

buttgammon

  • Magnums (Magna)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2020, 12:09:40 PM »
Thinking outside of the box, I'd like to nominate Dan Brown. I honestly can't believe his work's been called 'The greatest use of neurons since Dante's Paradise Lost.' It's like, HELLO?! Am I the only one seeing how cackingly bad he is? His writing wouldn't know arsehole from soul if you gave him a thousand years and endless ink.

I almost hope someone did actually say this, because it's actually brilliant!

Chedney Honks

  • When life gives u no hair, ball spin
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2020, 12:36:05 PM »
Really enjoying the thread and especially Bernice's take on Camus which matches my own, for the record.

Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2020, 05:19:43 PM »
I wonder where the Dan Brown fandom stands on which parts of his work were pseudy or not... not having read him much myself...

I figured he would be immune from "pseuddom", properly applied, because he writes stories about demons and saints. Something about religious subjects seem to bar it.

I guess there must be a lot of pseuds in the C of E but they have an obligation to reign it in a bit. They are just deemed "pedantic", most likely.

Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #40 on: December 26, 2020, 04:04:24 PM »
After reading the opening chunk of Camus's Myth of Sysiphus (albeit only in the Justin O'Brien translation, which is a literal one (sounds very stiff e.g. translating "époque" with "epoch"))  I maintain my conviction that he was a pseud.

Here is my evidence, taken from the Penguin Modern Classic edition pg. 19 (yet re-edited for clarity):



From the moment absurdity is recognised, it becomes a harrowing passion. Let us recognise and enumerate those themes born of the desert, known to all of us today. Many men defend the rights of the irrational: "humilated thought" has never ceased to exist. Criticism of rationalism is very common and it hardly needs to be made again, yet in our age there is a resurgence in paradoxical systems which trip up our reason. But this does not prove  the efficacy of reason: it only proves the intensity of its hopes. On the plane of  history, such a constancy of two attitudes illustrates the passion of man torn between unity and a clear vision of the walls enclosing him". [paragraph ends]


In the light of the context, I feel I can accurately "translate" this paragraph as saying: "the long philosophical discourse on the topic of "reason" is still relevant to this day and age, although it might seem a well-trodden ground".

[new paragraph begins] Never has the attack on reason been more violent: never since Zarathustra's outburst "it is the oldest nobility in the world that I conferred upon all things when I proclaimed that above them no eternal will be exercised"

(for me it is not obvious that the quote from Nietzsche illustrates the purported "attack on reason", and it is hardly best described as an "outburst" - it is more like a riddle with the stress on the notion of "nobility" - a typically Nietzschean riddle, in fact.)

...nor since Kierkegaard's fatal "malady that leads to death with nothing else following it"

(Presumably the context of the Kierkegaard quote is that "Reason" is the "malady" that leads to death)

...since Kierkegaard's malady... the significant and tormenting themes of absurd thought have followed one another. Or at least, and this proviso is of capital importance, the themes of irrational and religious thought. From Jaspers to Heidegger, from Kierkegaard to Chestov, from the phenomenologists to Scheler, on the logical plane and on the moral plane, a whole family of minds related by their nostalgia but opposed by their methods of their aims have persisted in blocking the royal road of reason and in recovering the direct paths of truth.

These thinkers (many of whom I admire, like Kierkegaard and Heidegger) all form a "family" of "nostalgic" thinkers who "block the royal [i.e. "benighted"?] road of reason" AND "recover direct paths of truth". Is that a compliment or a critique?

.... and there is even a third claim in the same sentence: that "the methods of their aims" (whatever they are) "oppose them".

 The best I can make of all this is that the writers in question (who, like all philosophers of the age, all criticised capital-R "Rationalism") advise more direct appreciation of "reality" than, say, Isaac Newton would have conceived of "reality" (i.e. via "rational" means). The part about the "methods of their aims opposing them" seems like a recapitulation of the idea that capital-R "Reason" is a chimera and that in using reason, philosophers are somehow using sub-standard means.

I come back to the definition I started the thread with: style over substance. The substance of this paragraph so far is merely a statement of what every experienced reader of philosophy knows, but swimming in a lot of lugubrious wordings that are - to my mind - nothing more than presumptuous in their posturing (he often uses phrases such as "of course", "as everyone knows" or "ridiculous" to disengage from thorny philosophical issues).

I see I have already written FAR more than I have quoted, but that just illustrates the (unpleasant) experience I have had in reading him. I will try to be less pedantic now and finish up the relevant quote, in order to give him a fair amount of context, but I will mark my ongoing frustration with square brackets as I go on (edit: some of these might be issues I have with the translator, not the author):

I assume these thoughts to be known and lived ["live a thought"?]. Whatever may be or have been their ambitions, all started from that indescribable universe where contradiction, antinomy [what?], anguish or impotence reigns ["universe"?] And what they have in common is precisely the themes so far disclosed ["disclose themes"?]. For them, too, it must be said that what matters above all is the conclusions they have managed to draw from those discoveries. That matters so much that they must be examined separately. But for the moment we are concerned solely with their discoveries and their initial experiments; solely with noting their agreement. If it would be presumptuous to try to deal with their philosophies, it is possible and sufficient in any case to bring out the climate that is common to them.

Following this paragraph are summaries of the above-mentioned philosophers Heidegger ("he points out the world's ephemeral character"), Jaspers ("he knows we can achieve nothing that transcends appearances"), Chestov (who "demonstrates that universal rationalism stumbles upon the irrational in thought"), Kierkegaard (who "lived the absurd"), and Husserl (who "reinstates the world in its diversity and denies the transcendence of reason").

What follows these is the claim that "the world itself is but a vast irrational" and the chapter ends.

northernrebel

  • Desperate but Not Serious
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2021, 09:28:18 PM »
Leading on from that, I was sure, after reading Sartre and Camus at uni, that I would LOVE Kierkegaard. Wrong - I found him baffling and migraine-inducing. Not sure he was pretentious, as I am sure he knew exactly what he wanted to say and was not striving for effect or being wordy, but damn did he make me feel stupid.

Patrick Leigh Fermor made me feel stupid, too, for similar reasons - I did not appreciate, as a 51 year old bookworm and avid reader, having to read English prose with a dictionary. I learned more about Ottoman hats and the decoration of Hungarian country houses in the 1930s than I ever wanted or needed to know.

Maybe they just showed up my low intellectual level. But I didn't appreciate them for it. I can understand most things if they are explained well.

Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #42 on: March 10, 2021, 10:19:41 AM »
It just goes to show that we are dealing with subjective questions of value because personally I adore both Fermor and Kierkegaard.

For me, Fermor represents the elite bourgeois Edwardian culture that died out some time between the first and second world wars. The one epitomized by the depicted atmosphere of Brideshead Revisited and Howard's End. It's a culture that was highly indulgent and inward-looking, but I can't help but admire their dedication to the values of learning, travel, spontaneity, and reliance on the kindness of strangers. Fermor was even able to rest on the laurels of this class-consciousness when he was captured by the Germans as a spy in WW2: the weary prisoner Fermor sat in the back of a military truck and heard his captor mutter a verse of latin - he took up the following verse and continued to recite the verses following that until the end. He was treated more like a guest than a prisoner after that. edit: "Fermor" not "Fermer"

Kierkegaard is a great thinker - very arrogant and under the belief that he would die at the same age as Jesus  Christ. He was deeply energized - well into his thirties - after "surviving" this self-made premonition of death. He also idolized Socrates and didn't want to live a long life. He loved to cause controversy and argue his way out of it. To me he's an example of how to think freely and cultivate thoughts which are deliberately out-of-kilter with your contemporaries. He lived for the ages.

Yes, so those are quite some subjective thoughts and value-judgements there, and no doubt some would call me a pseud for giving them credence.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2021, 01:43:00 PM by Retinend »

chveik

  • OPEN THE PUBS BOYS
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #43 on: March 10, 2021, 01:12:12 PM »
Kierkegaard is a great thinker - very arrogant and under the belief that he would die at the same age as Jesus  Christ. He was deeply energized - well into his thirties - after "surviving" this self-made premonition of death.

I seem to remember that this belief was coming from his deeply domineering father.

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #44 on: March 10, 2021, 02:22:03 PM »
Who decides the level of intellect that makes someone a paeudo intellectual? I'm thick as mince so surely very few people are pseudo intellectuals for me? I dont know rhe rules. Is it just people who are wrong?

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #45 on: March 13, 2021, 09:31:32 AM »
Most forms of cultural expression come from really narrow frames of reference. Sets of shared assumptions, references, and acceptable subjects of discussion. This is why, the second you step away from mass-market pap, stuff starts to feel a) 'difficult' but also b) satisfying to engage with.

'Pseudo-intelectual' and 'pretentious' are terms that usually operate at the level of whether stuff is worthy of investing the time/energy to really understand the full range of references and assumptions.

Our perception of effort/energy ratio is partly down to individual preference and partly down to broader cultural values.

If you're out of step with a set of values then stuff can seem really pretentious as the reward doesn't seem worth the energy.

Like: How many books have been written about academics getting divorced? If you are a middle-aged academic then the energy to 'get' said novels is relatively low. So it's really easy to grasp and marvel at all of the subtleties.  Conversely, if you're not an over-educated horny middle-aged guy then it's hard to understand why you'd even need any nuance in the handling of such narrow and stultifying themes.

Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #46 on: March 13, 2021, 12:32:44 PM »
If I understand you right, then no one is a pseud or pretentious - they are merely misunderstood by their critics due to differing frames of reference. Or did I not understand you properly?


Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #47 on: March 13, 2021, 04:07:39 PM »
a paeudo intellectual

If you want a pedo-intellectual and pseud to boot (and it would be nice to give him a booting), go digging on the individual I mentioned in the OP, Peter Sotos.

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #48 on: March 13, 2021, 04:43:06 PM »
If I understand you right, then no one is a pseud or pretentious - they are merely misunderstood by their critics due to differing frames of reference. Or did I not understand you properly?

I'd say that the term 'pretentious' is most commonly used as a stick with which to beat the creators and enjoyers of art you deem to be not worth the intellectual price of entry.

I don't even know how you'd go about coming up with a non-relative yardstick for measuring pretension.

Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #49 on: March 13, 2021, 05:56:53 PM »
I don't even know how you'd go about coming up with a non-relative yardstick for measuring pretension.

I don't know either, but can we name that new measurement after Will Self? e.g. "0.39 Selfies"? It would be a 0 to 1 scale in which 1 is equal to using the phrase "this whole imbroglio is epiphenomenal" stoney-faced on Newsnight.

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #50 on: March 14, 2021, 12:45:14 PM »
Camus always seemed like a bit of a jumping off point really, to be read when you're 14 and enable you to fall in love with the world of ideas, then you move on.

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #51 on: March 15, 2021, 08:02:09 PM »
Calling a Sartre a 'fake existentialist' is a bit weird. Properly speaking, he's the only philosopher the term really describes because its mostly just him who articulates the question of Being/beings along the lines of existence/essence. And it doesn't really describe his writing after about 1965.

Grouping Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, etc. in with Sartre on Camus based on that is false. Outside of Sartre and his immediate circle, existentialism exists only as a literary or pedagogical category that doesn't really denote much other than a certain writer was concerned with the place of individuals versus society. Nietzsche and Kierkegaard in particular would have been positively revolted by dividing the world into categories of being 'in itself' and 'for itself'. It seems more like a way of grouping philosophers who wrote literary work a way that focuses on the literary side.  Maybe the over-inflation of the term has something to do with the fact it describes politically radical individuals in a way that slices out the most politically radical part of their work and focuses on more palatable themes of personal identity and authenticity rather than deal with explicit calls to political action and revolt like Critique of Dialectical Reason and Ethics of Ambiguity. Which are incidentally works that English speaking institutions have habitually damned for their pretentiousness and imprenetrable obscurity. Funny that.


Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #52 on: March 19, 2021, 10:40:03 AM »
Yes, also, Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism" essay is such a concise and comprehensible answer to the question 'What is Existentialism?' that, for me, it defines the topic.

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #53 on: March 19, 2021, 10:51:07 AM »
I don't know either, but can we name that new measurement after Will Self? e.g. "0.39 Selfies"? It would be a 0 to 1 scale in which 1 is equal to using the phrase "this whole imbroglio is epiphenomenal" stoney-faced on Newsnight.
But here you are, ten years later, quoting him saying it.
He could have said "This whole carry-on is a bit of a sideshow" and nobody would have remembered it.
In english writing and culture there is always a push and pull between writing that mirrors living speech, and writing that is fancy and artificial but is more memorable.

Straw Poll- Which of these two translations of a sentence from the Book of Revelations do you prefer:

Tyndal Bible of 1526:
And there shalbe nomore deeth nether sorowe nether cryinge nether shall there be eny more payne for the olde thynges are gone.

King James Bible of 1611:
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.


Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #54 on: March 19, 2021, 12:45:31 PM »
Yes, also, Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism" essay is such a concise and comprehensible answer to the question 'What is Existentialism?' that, for me, it defines the topic.

I own this book in French. It's definitely a great summary of his philosophy in 100 pages, and it includes an interview with the man, in addition to the main text, which is a reader-friendly format for a difficult set of ideas.

I have to disagree with Video Game Fan 2000 when he says that it is "false" to group together Sartre and Kierkegaard: in this book, Sartre does exactly that himself, by referring reverently to Kierkegaard's notion of "fear and trembling" ("l'angoisse") as discussed in that book of the same name, and linking it to his own notion of "mauvaise foi". I quote (p. 34-35):

Quote
On n'échappe à cette pensée inquiétante[1] que par une sorte de mauvaise foi. Celui qui ment et qui s'excuse en déclarant: tout le monde ne fait pas comme ça, est[2] quelqu'un qui est mal à l'aise avec sa conscience, car le fait de mentir implique une valeur universelle attribuée au mensonge.

Même lorsqu'elle[3] se masque, l'angoisse apparaît. C'est cette angoisse qui Kierkegaard appelait "l'angoisse d'Abraham".

Vous connaissez l'histoire: Un ange a ordonné à Abraham de sacrifier son fils... Et tout va bien si c'est vraiment un ange qui est venu et qui a dit: "tu es Abraham et tu sacrifieras ton fils" ...Mais chacun peut se demander: "Est-ce que c'est bien un ange? Est-ce que je suis bien Abraham? Qu'est-ce qui me le prouve? Il y avait une folle qui avait des hallucinations."

Si un ange vient à moi, qu'est-ce qui prouve que c'est un ange? Qu'est-ce qui prouve que les voix viennent du ciel et non de l'enfer? Qui prouve qu'elles s'addressent à moi?

Je ne trouverai jamais aucune preuve. Je ne trouverai aucune signe pour m'en convaincre
 1. in context, this "disquieting notion" is the notion that one must determine one's own values in life, without faith in Godly edicts
 2. the essay is adapted from the transcript of a speech Sartre gave, and this appears to be a leftover fragmentary sentence
 3. "sa conscience", I presume

Which I would translate as follows:

Quote
We cannot escape the disquieting notion that one must determine one's own values in life, except by means of a faith of a kind that deceives by saying "noone does otherwise". The person must live in suspicion of her conscience, since the act of lying to oneself attributes the value of universality to that lie.

When one ignores one's own conscience, anxiety follows. It is the same anxiety that Kierkegaard named "The Anxiety of Abraham".

You all know the story: an angel ordered Abraham to sacrifice his own son... and it's all well and good so long as, as a matter of fact, it was an angel who came down and said: "you are Arabraham and you will sacrifice your own son"... but one might query: "is it really an angel? am I really Abraham?! Who's to say for sure? Perhaps it was all a hallucination."

Were an angel to come down to visit me, who would verify it was truly an angel I saw? Who would prove that the voices I heard had come down from the heavens... and not from from hell? Who would verify that they were indeed speaking to me and no one else?

I would, in fact, be unable to find any proof whatsoever. I would be unable to find any clue whatsoever as to be able to decide one way or the other.

Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #55 on: March 19, 2021, 01:06:02 PM »
Straw Poll- Which of these two translations of a sentence from the Book of Revelations do you prefer:

Tyndal Bible of 1526:
And there shalbe nomore deeth nether sorowe nether cryinge nether shall there be eny more payne for the olde thynges are gone.

King James Bible of 1611:
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Both sentences are using the present perfect tense formed with the verb "to be" as auxilliary verb, which is an obsolete distinction, replaced by the auxillary verb "to have" in every instance of the present perfect tense.

On the other hand, the first sentence still sounds modern because we still use the fossilized phrase "be gone" - these days interpreted as a copula+adjective pairing (consider how we can grammatically say "The money is gone!" but not *"he is gone to the shops").

Therefore I vote for the first, though I think your point is that the more unusual-sounding phrase ought to be more appealing. Sorry!

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #56 on: March 19, 2021, 01:32:20 PM »
I have to disagree with Video Game Fan 2000 when he says that it is "false" to group together Sartre and Kierkegaard: in this book, Sartre does exactly that himself, by referring reverently to Kierkegaard's notion of "fear and trembling" ("l'angoisse") as discussed in that book of the same name, and linking it to his own notion of "mauvaise foi". I quote (p. 34-35):

I don't think its good practice to group philosophers together by who produced readings of whom. There is certainly influence and vocabulary moving forward from Kierkegaard to Sartre, but I don't think that it is evidence of them working from the same methodology or even that they're describing the same things. Sartre's reading of Kierkegaard is transformative and it more closely belongs to French transformative readings or re-interpretations of canonical works than it does to Kierkegaard's own subjective theology or the scholarship of such. Much like with Heidegger, I think many scholars of Kierkegaard think that Sartre was decent writer and essayist who got in over his head with philosophy and don't take his interpretations as much more than a literary engagement. Its appropriate to group Sartre and Marx together as dialectical materialists or Sartre and Merleau-Ponty as phenomenologists, but the 'existentialist' category is mostly just pedagogical.

I think "angest"/"angst"/"l'angoisse" is a good example of this, because while they're related terms it is highly debatable about whether we can truly say that Kierkegaard, Heidegger and Sartre were all speaking about the same thing. It's a good example of an innovative writer creating his own precursors but if we're being strict about things it is Sartre that is bringing things together to make his point, Kierkegaard was not already speaking about the same thing as him, 'L'angoisse' already being a significant theme in French thought. For Kierkegaard, we're damned because we're put into a world where we have to make a choice that seems to us impossible - to follow God and do the unthinkable, in Abraham's 'teleogical suspension' of everything he knows to be right. For Sartre, we're damned to choice itself, but there is no clear overriding choice that would warrant such a suspension. We're condemned to absolute freedom itself. It's not simply that Sartre took God out of the equation, he re-orientated the issue to focus on the choice itself ("Je ne trouverai jamais aucune preuve. Je ne trouverai aucune signe pour m'en convaincre" in what you posted). Fear and Trembling is much of an account of faith-based action that it is an account of indecision, as it is usually taught as being as a canonical 'existentialist' text. Hard to know what Kierkegaard would have made of 20th century leftist militants using his work to analysis the phenomenology of indecision itself as a condition or way of living.

Y'know, the famous story of Wittgenstein saying "I can well understand what Heidegger means by 'anxiety'", which is funny because he didn't say what he understood by it.

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #57 on: March 19, 2021, 01:38:34 PM »
I'm undecided myself, it wasn't a rhetorical question.
My personal taste is definitely towards the first one,
but the second one, with its novelty, seems more likely to be quoted, memorised, passed on.

Retinend

  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • I AM A CUCK (documentary)
Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #58 on: March 19, 2021, 01:54:39 PM »
I don't think its good practice to group philosophers together by who produced readings of whom. There is certainly influence and vocabulary moving forward from Kierkegaard to Sartre, but I don't think that it is evidence of them working from the same methodology or even that they're describing the same things.

Thanks for your learned perspective on Kierkegaard, Sartre and more. I would just like to clarify my mild argument: that if Sartre himself uses Kierkegaard's notion of "Fear and Trembling" so reverently in order to explain his own concept of "mauvaise foi", and since both these concepts are central to each philosopher's respective philosophy, I would say that Sartre encourages the association of his existentialist philosophy with that of Kierkegaard. But I appreciate that the two of them were of very different temperament: notably by being a Christian and an atheist, respectively.

but the second one, with its novelty, seems more likely to be quoted, memorised, passed on.

Sounds correct.

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #59 on: March 19, 2021, 02:06:48 PM »
Don't get me wrong, I think Sartre's readings are good and his bad rep these days mostly undeserved. Whatever your opinions on his two big tomes, he is an all time great essayist.

I like to approach it like this: if I didn't take Sartre seriously, how valid would I find the category he's proposing? When Ayn Rand (winner of this thread) claims Aristotle as her precursor, does that mean we have to read Aristotle as a 'neo-romantic' or 'objectivist'? Of course we don't. It pays to be equally skeptical when we actually like the interpretation as when its self-evident bullshit like Rand.

Tags: