Love and SexualityeBook - 1998
"A valuable addition to Camus studies. . . . Opens new perspectives on an array of characters, situations, and stances. . . . A highly readable book written in an unpretentious but elegant prose."--Raymond Gay-Crosier, University of Florida
"Questions of love and sexuality have been a recurrent problem for critics, scholars, and general readers of Camus. . . . No one has come close to Rizzuto’s work in depth and breadth, in subtlety, or in explanatory power. . . . Create[s] a coherent portrait of Camus as a man and writer struggling with the implications of his ideas and behavior."--English Showalter, Rutgers University
Analyzing Camus' complete works from his earliest essays to his posthumous novel The First Man (just published in English in 1996), this book explores Camus' evolution as a writer through those questions of love and sexuality that engaged him deeply throughout his life.
Combining significant biographical material with literary and psychological analysis, Anthony Rizzuto focuses on Camus' distinctions between love and sex alongside his evolving concepts of masculinity and femininity, the role of women in society, the relationships between sexuality and social class, his attempts to write love scenes, and above all his complex relationship with his mother, who figures prominently in his work. He brings together Camus' diverse and often disturbing depiction of love relationships and creates a picture of Camus as an artist and a man struggling to understand the implications of his ideas and his own erotic behavior.
In the course of his career, Camus gradually realized that his praise of sex often masked a fundamental inability to love. Sensing nihilism and emptiness within his culture and himself, he discovered a sick and discontented civilization "dying" for lack of love. This work on one of the most important writers of the 20th century will create interest not only among admirers of Camus but also in the areas of literary criticism, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and culture and gender studies.
Anthony Rizzuto, associate professor of French at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, is the author of Style and Theme in Pierre Reverdy's "Les Ardoises du Toit" and Camus' Imperial Vision.