The Myth of Sisyphus
In this profound and moving philosophical statement, Camus poses the fundamental question: Is life worth living? If human existence holds no significance, what can keep us from suicide? As Camus argues, if there is no God to give meaning to our lives, humans must take on that purpose themselves. This is our 'absurd' task, like Sisyphus forever rolling his rock up a hill, as the inevitability of death constantly overshadows us. Written during the bleakest days of the Second World War, The Myth of Sisyphus argues for an acceptance of reality that encompasses revolt, passion and, above all, liberty. This volume contains several other essays, including lyrical evocations of the sunlit cities of Algiers and Oran, the settings of his great novels The Outsider and The Plague. Albert Camus is the author of a number of best-selling and highly influential works, all of which are published by Penguin. They include The Fall, The Outsider and The First Man. He is remembered as one of the few writers to have shaped the intellectual climate of post-war France, but beyond that, his fame has been international. Translated by Justin O'Brien With an Introduction by James Wood
The Seventh Function of Language
From the prizewinning author of HHhH, “the most insolent novel of the year” (L’Express) Paris, 1980. The literary critic Roland Barthes dies—struck by a laundry van—after lunch with the presidential candidate François Mitterand. The world of letters mourns a tragic accident. But what if it wasn’t an accident at all? What if Barthes was . . . murdered? In The Seventh Function of Language, Laurent Binet spins a madcap secret history of the French intelligentsia, starring such luminaries as Jacques Derrida, Umberto Eco, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Julia Kristeva—as well as the hapless police detective Jacques Bayard, whose new case will plunge him into the depths of literary theory (starting with the French version of Roland Barthes for Dummies). Soon Bayard finds himself in search of a lost manuscript by the linguist Roman Jakobson on the mysterious “seventh function of language.” A brilliantly erudite comedy that recalls Flaubert’s Parrot and The Name of the Rose—with more than a dash of TheDa Vinci Code—The Seventh Function of Language takes us from the cafés of Saint-Germain to the corridors of Cornell University, and into the duels and orgies of the Logos Club, a secret philosophical society that dates to the Roman Empire. Binet has written both a send-up and a wildly exuberant celebration of the French intellectual tradition.
Phenomenology of Perception
First published in 1945, Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s monumental Phénoménologie de la perception signalled the arrival of a major new philosophical and intellectual voice in post-war Europe. Breaking with the prevailing picture of existentialism and phenomenology at the time, it has become one of the landmark works of twentieth-century thought. This new translation, the first for over fifty years, makes this classic work of philosophy available to a new generation of readers. Phenomenology of Perception stands in the great phenomenological tradition of Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre. Yet Merleau-Ponty’s contribution is decisive, as he brings this tradition and other philosophical predecessors, particularly Descartes and Kant, to confront a neglected dimension of our experience: the lived body and the phenomenal world. Charting a bold course between the reductionism of science on the one hand and "intellectualism" on the other, Merleau-Ponty argues that we should regard the body not as a mere biological or physical unit, but as the body which structures one’s situation and experience within the world. Merleau-Ponty enriches his classic work with engaging studies of famous cases in the history of psychology and neurology as well as phenomena that continue to draw our attention, such as phantom limb syndrome, synaesthesia, and hallucination. This new translation includes many helpful features such as the reintroduction of Merleau-Ponty’s discursive Table of Contents as subtitles into the body of the text, a comprehensive Translator’s Introduction to its main themes, essential notes explaining key terms of translation, an extensive Index, and an important updating of Merleau-Ponty’s references to now available English translations. Also included is a new foreword by Taylor Carman and an introduction to Merleau-Ponty by Claude Lefort. Translated by Donald A. Landes.
Of all the faculties (except that which I shall soon mention), you will find not one which is capable of contemplating itself, and, consequently, not capable either of approving or disapproving. How far does the grammatic art possess the contemplating power? As far as forming a judgment about what is written and spoken. And how far music? As far as judging about melody. Does either of them then contemplate itself? By no means. But when you must write something to your friend, grammar will tell you what words you should write; but whether you should write or not, grammar will not tell you. And so it is with music as to musical sounds; but whether you should sing at the present time and play on the lute, or do neither, music will not tell you. What faculty then will tell you? That which contemplates both itself and all other things. And what is this faculty? The rational faculty; for this is the only faculty that we have received which examines itself, what it is, and what power it has, and what is the value of this gift, and examines all other faculties: for what else is there which tells us that golden things are beautiful, for they do not say so themselves? Evidently it is the faculty which is capable of judging of appearances. What else judges of music, grammar, and the other faculties, proves their uses, and points out the occasions for using them? Nothing else.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Discusses the universal legend of the hero in world mythology, focusing on the motif of the hero's journey through adventure and transformation.
Discourse on Colonialism
"Césaire's essay stands as an important document in the development of third world consciousness--a process in which [he] played a prominent role." --Library Journal This classic work, first published in France in 1955, profoundly influenced the generation of scholars and activists at the forefront of liberation struggles in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Nearly twenty years later, when published for the first time in English, Discourse on Colonialism inspired a new generation engaged in the Civil Rights, Black Power, and anti-war movements and has sold more than 75,000 copies to date. Aimé Césaire eloquently describes the brutal impact of capitalism and colonialism on both the colonizer and colonized, exposing the contradictions and hypocrisy implicit in western notions of "progress" and "civilization" upon encountering the "savage," "uncultured," or "primitive." Here, Césaire reaffirms African values, identity, and culture, and their relevance, reminding us that "the relationship between consciousness and reality are extremely complex. . . . It is equally necessary to decolonize our minds, our inner life, at the same time that we decolonize society." An interview with Césaire by the poet René Depestre is also included.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
One of the world's most famous novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, blends the natural with the supernatural in one of the most magical reading experiences on earth. 'Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice' Gabriel Garcia Marquez's great masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendia family and of Macondo, the town they have built. Though little more than a settlement surrounded by mountains, Macondo has its wars and disasters, even its wonders and its miracles. A microcosm of Columbian life, its secrets lie hidden, encoded in a book, and only Aureliano Buendia can fathom its mysteries and reveal its shrouded destiny. Blending political reality with magic realism, fantasy and comic invention, One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the most daringly original works of the twentieth century. 'Dazzling' The New York Times
Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward.
Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile
Bonjour Tristesse is Françoise Sagan's stylish, shimmering and amoral tale of adolescence and betrayal on the French Riviera, published when its author was just eighteen years old. It tells the story of Cécile, who leads a carefree life with her widowed father and his young mistresses until, one hot summer on the Riviera, he decides to remarry - with devastating consequences. In A Certain Smile, which is also included in this volume, Dominique, a young woman bored with her lover, begins an encounter with an older man that unfolds in unexpected and troubling ways. Both novellas have been freshly translated by Heather Lloyd and include an introduction by Rachel Cusk. Françoise Sagan was born in France in 1935. Bonjour tristesse (1954), published when she was just eighteen, became a succès de scandale and even earned its author a papal denunciation. Sagan went on to write many other novels, plays and screenplays, and died in 2004. Heather Lloyd was previously Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Glasgow, and has published work on both Bonjour tristesse and Françoise Sagan. Rachel Cusk is the author of Saving Agnes (1993), which won the Whitbread First Novel Award; A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother (2001); and Arlington Park (2006), shortlisted for the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her most recent book is Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation (2012). 'Funny, thoroughly immoral and thoroughly French' The Times
Within A Budding Grove
My mother, when it was a question of our having M. de Norpois to dinner for the first time, having expressed her regret that Professor Cottard was away from home, and that she herself had quite ceased to see anything of Swann, since either of these might have helped to entertain the old Ambassador, my father replied that so eminent a guest, so distinguished a man of science as Cottard could never be out of place at a dinner-table, but that Swann, with his ostentation, his habit of crying aloud from the housetops the name of everyone that he knew, however slightly, was an impossible vulgarian whom the Marquis de Norpois would be sure to dismiss as—to use his own epithet—a 'pestilent' fellow.