Item description for Albert Camus in New York by Herbert R. Lottman...
"If it had not actually taken place I should have been tempted, when writing a biography of Albert Camus, to invent his visit to my birthplace city" says Lottman in his foreword to Albert Camus in New York, specially published to introduce the monumental biography.
Lottman continues: "The timing of the actual event - for it did happen - is touched with irony. By then Camus was a hero in Paris, a still young and brilliant author of eminently readable yet challenging works, perhaps more widely known as editor-in-chief of Combat, a daily newspaper born of the wartime Resistance. Now, as front-page editorialist of a paper and a movement pledged to change France, Albert Camus was seen as a moral guide for the postwar.
He was also a very likeable hero, looking even younger than his years, dapper in his Humphrey Bogart raincoat (looking very much a Bogart clone, and enjoying the notion when told so). He might be spotted in the literary heart of the Left Bank, at one or another sidewalk cafe of Place Saint Germain des Prs, late evenings at a cabaret or jazz cellar. The popular press knew a good story when it saw one. The very fact that Camus had been born and grew up in far-off French Algeria , then had spent his first French years in a remote province, made his sudden appearance among the literary warhorses of the French capital more magical still.
Yet - this is the irony - he was all but unknown on foreign shoresv - our shores for example. The Stranger, his first influential novel, was to be published only during his American visit. University specialists knew something about him, and some were already great admirers, as were a handful of Francophile journalists. Still, his relative obscurity, and his total accessibility, added intensity to his brief stay - for Camus as well as for some fortunate enough to meet him then, and for us as we reach back to the past to re-create those days."
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Reviews - What do customers think about Albert Camus in New York?
super thin, big disappointment Apr 29, 2007
The description informs the buyer that the book is 60 pages, but not that it's 60 small pages with super big type. Plus the editing is horrible -- riddled with typos.
It does however deliver a side to Camus not often seen -- the young author, somewhat scared and certainly lonely -- but still with little insight and discussion. It read more like an extended news article.
An Excellent Glimpse into the Life of a Fascinating Man Dec 22, 2000
Herbert Lottman is the most loving and I believe the most authoritative of all students of Albert Camus. This short book is a treasure for anyone who cares about Camus' literature. If you are serious about Camus, you should read this book as well as Lottman's excellent biography of Camus, which was the groundbreaking work in all Camus scholarship and remains the best Camus biography.
Lottman's work on Camus has not been as well received as one might hope, and that is a great shame. Ironically, I think his reception by Camus scholars mirrors the incivility which the French elite reserved for Camus himself. I think the treatment both men received from the literati is explained by the fact that they are both outsiders. Neither man was a French native (Camus was an Algerian of French-Spanish descent and Lottman is an American expatriate living in Paris) and neither was a professional academic (Camus was a newspaper editor, a novelist, and a man of the theater, while Lottman is a journalist). It seems that the elite are simply never willing to admit any reason to listen to an outsider, no matter how worthy that person might be. That is so at least in retrospect, anyway; I think that as time passes the elite will recognize Lottman's greatness, just as, with time, they recognized the greatness of Camus.
Anyway, this book is a touching, very readable glimpse into the life of a fascinating man, by an author who himself clearly loves Camus and has taken great pains to paint him truthfully.