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Lettres à un ami allemand by Albert Camus
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Lettres à un ami allemand (1848)

by Albert Camus

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Lettres à un ami allemand (English; Letters to a German friend) is a collection of four letters, written during the occupation and published clandestinely. The first of these letters was published in 1943, the second in 1944 and the final two were written in 1944, but published in 1945. After the war, the collection appeared is a small, numbered edition. Camus was opposed to translation of the work and circulation among foreign readers, although he did consent to an Italian translation. The reason for this is that, according to Camus the letters were written with the singular purpose of informing people about and re-invigorating the resistance.

The letters are addressed to an imaginary "German friend," but when addressed in plural vous Nazis are indicated. The letters are polemical, criticizing Germany's striving for dominance in Europe. They are a plea for justice, worded as a struggle against violence. The ends cannot justify the means. The letters are replete with descriptions and images of transports of prisoners and Jews, and speaks of the millions of deaths caused by the war. Fierce language is used to condemn the German cause, which must sway to the allied cause.

Beside the horrible descriptions, and fierce denouncements of the Nazi cause, the letters contain some beautiful and poetic images, such as the reminder that happiness should not be forgotten. Against the German-dominated Europe of fields of smoking corpses, Camus poses the finest traditions of a united Europe, from the castle in Prague to the stones of Venice. At this point Camus pointed at more than just a united struggle against fascism, towards a united Europe.

An English translation of Lettres à un ami allemand is included in Resistance, Rebellion, and Death. ( )
  edwinbcn | Oct 4, 2013 |
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