➾ La Chute Free ➵ Author Albert Camus – Tshirtforums.co.uk

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About the Author: Albert Camus

Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work. Of semi-proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest in philosophy (only chance prevented him from pursuing a university care



10 thoughts on “La Chute

  1. says:

    I ran into my friend Dan at the club last week, and he was drunk. So we talked Camus. We didn’t discuss Camus’s theories, or the fact that he avoided riding in cars and then DIED IN A CAR CRASH. We just talked about Camus in relation to Dan’s life and in relation to mine. The only really interesting thing about anything to me is how it affects me. That’s the honest truth.

    Dan and I agreed that an interest in Existentialism is kind of a stage in your life – like when you liked Pearl Jam or lived in a little house that had a name and seven other people living in it. We then agreed that a re-exploration of all things Existential is usually preceded by your significant other telling you to get bent.

    Later Dan taught me how to cure a salmon, and we decided to co-host a dinner party in the second week of April. I doubt we would have come to this conclusion without having read The Fall.


  2. says:


    “One plays at being immortal and after a few weeks one doesn't even know whether or not one can hang on till the next day.”
    ― Albert Camus, The Fall

    “A single sentence will suffice for modern man: he fornicated and read the newspapers.” So pronounces Jean-Baptiste Clamence, narrator of Albert Camus’s short novel during the first evening of a monologue he delivers to a stranger over drinks at a shabby Amsterdam watering hole. Then, during the course of several evenings, the narrator continues his musings uninterrupted; yes, that’s right, completely uninterrupted, since his interlocutor says not a word. At one point Clamence states, “Alcohol and women provided me, I admit, the only solace of which I was worthy.” Clamence, judge-penitent as he calls himself, speaks thusly because he has passed judgment upon himself and his life. His verdict: guilty on all counts.

    And my personal reaction to Clamence’s monologue? Let me start with a quote from Carl Jung: “I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success of money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually confined within too narrow a spiritual horizon.” Camus gives us a searing portrayal of a modern man who is the embodiment of spiritual poverty – morose, alienated, isolated, empty.

    I would think Greco-Roman philosophers like Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus, or Marcus Aurelius would challenge Clamence in his clams to know life: “I never had to learn how to live. In that regard, I already knew everything at birth.”. Likewise, the wisdom masters from the enlightenment tradition –- such as Nagarjuna, Bodhidharma and Milarepa -- would have little patience listening to a monologue delivered by a smellfungus and know-it-all black bile stinker.

    I completed my reading of the novel, a slow, careful reading as is deserving of Camus. The Fall is indeed a masterpiece of concision and insight into the plight of modern human experience.

    Here is a quote from the Wikipedia review: “Clamence, through his confession, sits in permanent judgment of himself and others, spending his time persuading those around him of their own unconditional guilt.”

    Would you be persuaded?



  3. says:


    The Anti-Christ

    Why does the Judge-penitent address you directly, as if he has found a kindred soul in you?

    In this world responsibility is infinite and that is why The Fall is inevitable - even for a Christ. But back then Christ made a mistake — he saw (was) the nausea of the world, he saw (was) the complete guilt of each man (and his own) and he decided to redeem man (himself) by setting a supreme example. He sacrificed himself because he found himself guilty. It was only an example, a call to action -- to make men recognize and alter their way of life. He wanted man to see the depravity of his own existence by this one magnificent act. But his sacrifice was merely self-elevating, it could not elevate man. For man cannot be elevated before being shown the depths he roils in currently. And man cannot see faults where he looks to see heroes. He cannot see himself in Christ. Man cannot see man in the Ideal.

    No, the faults had to be shown through an anti-hero. That is why the prophesy of an anti-christ was our true hope. That is why Christ had to return as the Anti-Christ. The Anti-Christ has to be closer to man, he has to be able to whisper to him as if he was just another man. He has to be able to make man see himself by looking at him. To make you see yourself as you really are by seeing in him yourself — yourself after The Fall.

    That is why the Judge-penitent addresses you directly. He has found a kindred soul in you.

    The Judge-Penitent

    You are personally guilty for every fault that exists in the world. And The Fall is to not acknowledge your guilt — to withdraw from the world into aestheticism (recall Kierkegaard’s A in Either/Or) and make your life’s central concern one of making yourself feel good about yourself and thus about the world.

    By the time Jean-Baptiste’s confession is over, you should realize that in fact the Judge-penitent is you. The story was yours. It is time to begin your own confession. It is time to stop being Kierkegaard’s A, and to be the B. To polarize yourself. Time to take responsibility and stare into the abyss.

    Of course you might let someone else take The Fall for you, but from then on you would have to worship him. You would have to worship the guilty. You would have to worship the Judge-Penitent. But in this modern religion, to worship is to laugh at The Fallen.

    That is the true role of the modern Christ. To take The Fall for you, so that he becomes the mirror in which you see the horror of your life.

    The Fall

    This necessary and continuous fall is the theme of the novel. It is one unforgiving, vertiginous descent. It is not a story of gradual discovery and ascent as in Sartre’s Nausea. In Nausea you see the picture that you should be painting of yourself. In The Fall you see the anti-thesis that you should use as your anti-model, as the one point which gives meaning to your picture by not being painted.

    Here you are made to continuously disagree with a person who goes more and more towards that abyss. You are made to define yourself in your disagreement, to define yourself as a negation. And by doing that you are the one who discovers the nausea of such an existence, even as the narrator finds ingenious and pathetic ways to avoid it. And you are the one who moves away from the abyss.

    You are the hero of the story, or at least the would-be hero — the one who is going to have the transformation that will change your world. The polarization is external to the novel.

    Jean-Baptiste is one of the most powerful anti-heroes of literature, but you never root for his redemption. Instead you root for him to fall and fall — to Fall as horribly and as deep into the abyss as possible. Because that is the only way to root for yourself. Because the more he falls, the more you can see of what consists the abyss, and the further away you get from it. His Fall will save you. Mon cher, he is your personal Christ.


  4. says:

    La Chute = The Fall, Albert Camus
    The Fall (French: La Chute) is a philosophical novel by Albert Camus. First published in 1956, it is his last complete work of fiction. Set in Amsterdam, The Fall consists of a series of dramatic monologues by the self-proclaimed "judge-penitent" Jean-Baptiste Clamence, as he reflects upon his life to a stranger. In what amounts to a confession, Clamence tells of his success as a wealthy Parisian defense lawyer who was highly respected by his colleagues; his crisis, and his ultimate "fall" from grace, was meant to invoke, in secular terms, The Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. The Fall explores themes of innocence, imprisonment, non-existence, and truth. In a eulogy to Albert Camus, existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre described the novel as "perhaps the most beautiful and the least understood" of Camus' books.
    تاریخ نخستین خوانش: یکی از روزها در سال 1975 میلادی
    عنوان: سقوط؛ نوشته آلبر کامو؛ مترجم: ا. بهروز؛ تهران، قائم مقام، مطبوعاتی خرد، چاپ نخست 1340؛ در 120 ص
    عنوان: سقوط؛ نوشته آلبر کامو؛ مترجم: علی صدوقی؛ تهران، قائم مقام، چاپ دوم 1345؛ در 107 ص
    عنوان: سقوط؛ نوشته آلبر کامو؛ مترجم: شورانگیز فرخ؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، فرانکلین، چاپ دوم 1352؛ در 189 ص؛ تهران، نیلوفر ؛ چاپ چهارم 1377، در 167 ص؛ چاپ نهم 1393؛
    عنوان: سقوط؛ نوشته آلبر کامو؛ مترجم: امیر لاهوتی؛ تهران، جامی، 1388؛ در 144 ص؛ شابک: 9789642575572؛
    عنوان: سقوط؛ نوشته آلبر کامو؛ مترجم: آناهیتا تدین؛ تهران، روزگار، 1392؛ در 120 ص؛ شابک: 9789643741808؛
    ادبیات فرانسه کتاب نخستین بار در سال 1956 منتشر شد
    رمانی ست فلسفی، که از زبان «ژان باتیست کلمانس (یحیای تعمید دهنده ی ندا کننده)» که وکیل بوده، و اینک خود را «قاضی توبه‌ کار» می‌خواند، به صورت مونولوگ اول شخص روایت می‌شود. او داستان زندگی‌ خویش را برای غریبه‌ ای اعتراف می‌کند. «ژان پل سارتر» فیلسوف اگزیستانسیالیست، این رمان را «زیباترین و فهم‌ ناشده‌ ترین» کتاب «کامو» می‌خواند. ا. شربیانی


  5. says:

    you know this person, we all know this person, this particular kind of person. a real do-gooder, a person of the people, doling out the goodwill and the spare change and the spare arm to help that blind person across the street. you know the satisfaction they get from looking humble, acting humble, being anything but humble at the heart of them. reveling in their goodness; reveling in their superiority. selflessness disguising selfishness. this person loves 'em and leaves 'em too, except "love" is too strong, too emotional a word to describe the shallow physical connection that leaves out any potential for a genuine connection. this person looks at other people like they would look at a collection of amusing bugs. this person sees a person needing help but if it costs them something, anything, even just a bit of delay on their way to something super important, then they are going to pass that person by. this person doesn't actually like people all that much; this person despises them, more than a little.

    you know this person because you have been this person! for at least a moment or a minute, maybe even longer, maybe it was something you had to get past. you know this person because this person is a part of you, unless you are some fairytale wonderland cartoon character who isn't capable of such things, of even thinking such things, and if that's the case - then fuck off! no, scratch that, don't fuck off; if you've never been this person, not even for a second, then message me because I wanna marry you. I've never been with a perfect person before.

    you know this author, mark, or at least you thought you did. Camus! the very name brings up so many thoughts and ideas and college memories, so many references. it's an intimidating name because Camus is an intimidating author. at least I thought he was. but not the Camus who wrote this excoriating and brilliant little novella. The Fall is pure enjoyment. Camus gets into the head of his douchebag protagonist and makes you really understand him. and even better, he makes the experience so much more than a chilly intellectual exercise. Camus is funny. he's more than clever, he has a genuine although dark sense of humor - wounding but never callow wit. but more important than either the depth of his characterization or his darkly sparkling wit is the fact that Camus is a man with reservoirs of empathy. The Fall isn't just a hit job on some hypocritical asshole. Camus understands his character, intimately; he understands him by recognizing that his character is a trait within human nature. the deepest wounds come from the people who are armed with empathy - they know exactly where and how to hurt you. Camus holds up a mirror for his readers to gaze upon themselves. personally, I wasn't too big a fan of what I saw; I don't like that side of me. I hate confronting my own hypocrisies. but I sure did love the mirror itself! it was beautifully built, a real work of art.




    8 of 16 in Sixteen Short Novels.


  6. says:

    I used to be, as they say, a person of some consequence, but now I spend most of my time on Goodreads. What? Oh, I worked for an American organization which provided experts for hire. At significantly elevated rates, it goes without saying. Reliable expertise carries a high market value, that was our business model. Let me tell you about one job I performed. A Spanish government agency wished to discontinue funding of a software project, why I don't know. Some internal feud, perhaps. They required an unimpeachable opinion to quote, so I had been brought in as an external evaluator. I was politely told in advance that my evaluation was expected to be negative. My contact assured me that he would keep the meeting as short as possible, in the interests of everyone concerned.

    I went in and shook hands with the representative of the project. I could see he had been up all night trying to improve his system's performance. I allowed him to show me the app for a few minutes. The contact man looked at me. In a neutral tone, and, in English, I explained that the project was not using the currently fashionable architecture or evaluation methodology; it was hard not to feel that this raised serious doubts. The contact man translated. "But he doesn't even know Spanish," the victim said helplessly; the contact man replied; a minute later, we were shaking hands again and leaving. The next day, my boss told me the client had been pleased with my performance.

    After I discovered Goodreads, I began to feel that software projects were insufficiently challenging. Instead of giving bland opinions on code, I could use my own words to judge the accumulated output of the world's writers, from Homer to the present day. The response was also more interesting. A curt and eloquent dismissal of Joyce or Dostoyevsky would produce satisfying howls of protest from the soi-disant intellectuals, and a comment thread that could yield a whole morning of amusement. But after a while, this too palled. I found that there are only a limited number of ways to disturb a highbrow reader's sense of literary appropriateness; I began to move my reading steadily downmarket, to vulgar and poorly executed novels which readers actually seemed to care about.

    Soon I had touched bottom and found the rich stratum of authors with accounts on the site. People claim, without much conviction, that they care deeply about To the Lighthouse; they may believe in all honesty that they care about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But there is no doubt at all that they care about their own books. It was extraordinary easy to manipulate these authors' vanity, first raising up their hopes with an appreciative comment and then hitting them with a bluntly insulting one-star review. If they dared object - I was surprised to see how many did - it was then the work of an hour to assemble dozens or even hundreds of other reviewers, who would mock and scorn them as "badly behaved authors", adding their own insulting reviews. I know, one can hardly call my career a glorious one; but no doubt you have similar crimes on your conscience.

    Every author, I learned, longs to find the ideal reader who will read them as they know they should be read, who will understand all the things they wished to say but could not express. They search for the ideal reader, but all they find are critics. I think there has only been one ideal reader, two thousand years ago. He looked past the surface of the book and saw the true book inside, the book so deeply hidden that even the author could not see it. Naturally the critics found him intolerable and put him to death. Later, people felt that they had to write a book about the ideal reader. It is a confused and poorly structured book, full of inconsistencies and non-sequiturs. It is still the best book yet written.

    I could continue, but it is nearly midnight. I do not think I will tell you any more about my life. Instead, I suggest we walk across the bridge into the Vieille Ville, past the art galleries and antiquarian bookshops. Another one closed down just last week. I want to see them before it is too late.


  7. says:

    The Fall
    Albert Camus


    I saw only superiority on myself, which explained my benevolence and peace of mind.


    You are sitting in a bar in Amsterdam- the Mexico City- just after world war, when you chance an encounter with a ordinary being, a simple man popping up on the stage of your life. Jean-Baptiste Clamence comes across to you an ordinary citizen who tells you he used to be a lawyer but he’s now a judge-penitent. A strange kind of emotion provoked in your consciousness due to the announcement about his profession. You don’t know what that means- judge-penitent, but he promises he’ll explain it to you. He narrates in the first person, explaining that you are both from Paris, you’re both in your forties, and you’re both men. Jean- Baptiste Clemence takes you on a journey where he put his real being across you after peeling off layers after layers of his inauthentic personas he has put up to comfort himself against the incising eyes of The Others, however only to warp his being by new ones. You are taken aback by a sudden terror realizing that the man you meet then is actually like you, it’s your own being, in fact he represents all humanity, the universal condition- hollowness of human existence. Welcome to the world of Camus.


    I wanted to break up the mannequin that I presented to the world wherever I went, and lay open to scrutiny what was in its belly.


    The narrator claims that he once lived a good, self-satisfied life, believing himself a model citizen. However. I was on the right side, and that was enough to ease my conscience. A sense of legality, the satisfaction of being right and the joy of self-esteem: these, my dear sir, are powerful incentives to keep us on our feet and moving forward. Clamence, in his position as judge-penitent, embodies the human necessity to judge, and need to condemn. The innate desire of human beings to judge acts as the very source of false morality. He creates a sort of illusion around himself based on the self-appeasing traits, however the spell, created by these ‘traits’, shattered to nothingness during one night when is walking by Seine, observes a that woman flings herself from the river bank and to certain death. He is standing right there listening on the cries of the woman but he couldn’t move to help her. Her fall triggers Clamence’s own. In another incident, Clamence finds that he is trapped behind a motorcycle which has stalled ahead of him and is unable to proceed once the light changes to green as a result. Other cars behind him start honking their horns, and Clamence politely asks the man several times if he would please move his motorcycle off the road so that others can drive around him; however, with each repetition of the request, the motorcyclist becomes increasingly agitated and threatens Clamence with physical violence. , Clamence, utterly humiliated, merely returns to his car and drives away. Later, he runs through his mind "a hundred times" what he thinks he should have done — namely strike his interlocutor, then chase after the motorcyclist and run him off the road. After having been struck in public without reacting, it was no longer possible for me to cherish that fine picture of myself. If I had been the friend of truth and intelligence I claimed to be, what would that episode have mattered to me? It was already forgotten by those who had witnessed it. For Clamence, the collision of his true self with his inflated self-image, and the final realization of his own hypocrisy becomes painfully obvious. Awakened to the reality of both his own, and the whole of humanity’s guilt, Clamence retreats from his settled life build around seemingly false self-placating characteristics and chooses rather to spend his days recounting his story in the hope that others will be awakened as he has been, and in so being alleviate the burden he himself carries. Clamence takes to this misanthropic life with ease, declaring himself a “judge-penitent”, both condemned and condemning.


    The face of morality represented by Clamence, actually turns out to be an illusion of morality, a morality doesn’t build around integrity instead around false notions of righteousness. However, the narrative props up an underlining truth that the false veneer which Clamence wraps around his being takes birth out of necessity to live a seemingly virtuous life- in the eyes of The Other. But it leads to an inauthentic, hollow existence which permeates from the straightforward narrative of the book but shows you hypocrisy of your existence itself. And your whole existence shudders with inexplicable terror while reflecting upon the hollowness of your very being. The self-loathing aroused from it makes you realize that your whole existence is a catalogue of guilt, hypocrisy and alienation as the morality, you build your life upon, ripped apart on the encounter with harsh realities of existence. The fall which Clamence experiences is not just his fall, it’s the fall of whole humanity as your whole history of existence is built around such false, self- assuaging norms, otherwise hollow in its core. A single sentence will suffice for modern man: he fornicated and read the papers. While acknowledging that isolation is the only way to begin to free oneself of the expectations of others and avoid Sartre’s Bad Faith, Clamence preaches slavery – the abdication of freedom – as the only way to be happy. As Sartre used to say – we are condemned to free. It is one of his many diabolic. I'm well aware of the fact one cannot do without being dominating or being served. Every man needs slaves just as he needs fresh air. Giving orders is like breathing, you must agree? In a world of only relative morality, authority, Clamence seems to suggest, is the only root to objective truth. But if you question it on the ontological level, you find that this assertion is undercut by Clamence’s own attempt to elevate himself to the position of judge, wherein you find a logical inconsistency as humanity attempts to judge itself without transcendent being.

    The main thing is to able to let oneself do anything, while from time to time loudly declaring one’s own unworthiness. I allow myself everything, once again and this time without laughing. I haven’t changed my way of life: I still love myself and I still use other people. It’s just that confessing my sins permits me to start again with a lighter heart and to gratify myself twice, firstly enjoying my nature, and then a delicious repentance.



    And you find that world of Clemence is no different that of Mersault, for he faces the problems of anonymity and indifference in modern life, only to expose the absurd nature of life wherein human beings tend to find meaning of life and totally unable to find any. As a character, Clamence epitomises the selfishness that stands between man and authentic experience, and true morality for community not just self. Only a novice would say that Clamence is Camus’s own voice- naively tracing the biographical elements in the books, however, the character of Clemence represents the reflection of a modern man living in post war. The nihilistic feeling he feels on encountering the absurdness of life urge him to take the easy way out- to fall back, only on new false notions. His inability to live between the evil and the righteousness- in the absurd state of life- creates a false morality. Clamence experiences Kierkegaard’s Dread. By choosing to embrace a life of judgement, he becomes a fallen prophet.



    The narrator would take you through the ‘bourgeois hell’ of Amsterdam by his monologue about guilt, hypocrisy and alienation. He ensnares us in his world of mirrors and deceptions, conveying the universality of his message while at the same time offering enough precision of detail for us to be aware of references to explicit events and personalities even we do not know what and who these are. Sartre once called it’ the finest and the least well-understood’ of Camus’s works. The observation by Sartre was bang on since the multi-layered text of this highly allusive book creates a chilling atmosphere behind its simple language and straightforward narrative. Though the divergence of Sartre’s and Camus’s thinking has become evident much earlier but Sartre’s review of The Rebel made it one of most celibrated literary battles of 20th century. One would assume, perhaps appropriately, that the novel was written, at least in parts, to express Camus’s feelings about the quarrel with Left (as Sartre had been champion of Marxism) however the novel appears to have references to ideas of Sartrean Existentialism. In Being and Nothingness, Sartre had posited a world in which human individuals are totally free, but in a constant struggle to defend their freedom against the encroachment of others who will attempt to dominate, limit and constrain them. These attempts can take the form of open oppression or more subtly, of love and affection, emotions that Sartrean Existentialist are imbued with bad faith- bad faith of the kind that Clemence seems to be describing when he talks about his discovery that ‘modesty helped me to shine, humility to triumph and virtue to oppress’. Observed with judgment and enslavement, Clamence is an Existentialist, too, in the anguish that comes with his understanding of the human condition and its absurdity. One may find Clamence to be satirical portrait of Sartre, something seems undeniable given the circumstances in which the novel was written, some may even hind that Clamence as a portrait of Camus himself as even some of the reviewers reverberate the same. Perhaps he has traits of both. The confession of the ‘judge-penitent’ may be in reality an accusation. In that case, it leads right back to Existentialism, it could be traced out in Camus’s notebook which reads: ‘Existentialism. What they accuse themselves, one can be sure that it is always in order to condemn others. Judge- penitents.’


    I didn’t know that freedom is not a reward or a decoration that you toast in champagne. Nor is it a gift, a box of delicacies which will make your mouth water. Oh no! On the contrary, it’s hard gift and a long-distance run, all alone, very exhausting. No champagne, no friends raising their glasses and looking affectionately at you. Alone in a dreary room, alone in the dock before yourself and before the judgement of others. At the end of every freedom there is a sentence, which is why freedom is too heavy to bear, especially when you have a temperature or you are grieving or you lose nobody.


    I am the end and the beginning, I announce the law. In short, I am a judge-penitent.



    It's one of those books which require you to actively ponder upon what the author has to say beneath its straightforward narrative. And you'd be amazed to see its profound effect on multiple readings. If you're willing to stretch yourself beside the conventional demands of a book, Camus's universe is for you.

    5/5


  8. says:

    Do you want to have the very foundations on the basis of which your whole outlook towards life has been shaped, questioned?
    Do you want to see the lines between so-called good and evil, right and wrong, the moral and immoral blurred to the extent you could not distinguish one from the other?
    Do you want to erase that cherished and precious point of reference, against which you have compared, weighed all your actions, thoughts and feelings so far?

    If the answer to the above 3 questions is yes, then go ahead and read Albert Camus. You may end up falling in love with his work, his notions on moral ambiguity and grudgingly marveling at his genius.

    Did I love this book? Yes.
    Did I understand every aspect of it? Yes and No. Might take me a few more reads.
    Did I love the prose? Oh hell yes.
    Do I know whether to label this book as a kind of doctrine on nihilism or existentialism or a curious combination of both? Oh hell no.


  9. says:

    The philosophical and psychological study of a man suffering inner turmoil and a crisis of existence, the man in question is one Jean Baptiste Clemance, a Parisian lawyer who while spending time in an Amsterdam bar starts to tell a moving, slightly disturbing story of self-pity and guilt to a complete stranger, only the feeling here was that a mirror was between them and felt more like a confession to himself rather than anyone else. This is Classic Camus and has all the trademarks you would come to expect. Deeply thought provoking, chilling, great narrative and with some memorable lines, my only issue was it's length at under a hundred pages, I craved for more.


  10. says:

    “People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.”

    “Freedom is not a reward or a decoration that you toast in champagne. On the contrary, it's hard graft and a long-distance run, all alone, very exhausting. Alone in a dreary room, alone in the dock before the judges, and alone to make up your mind, before yourself and before the judgment of others. At the end of every freedom there is a sentence, which is why freedom is too heavy to bear.”

    “Your success and happiness are forgiven you only if you generously consent to share them. But to be happy it is essential not to be too concerned with others. Consequently, there is no escape. Happy and judged, or absolved and wretched.”

    “Friendship is less simple. It is long and hard to obtain but when one has it there's no getting rid of it; one simply has to cope with it. Don't think for a minute that your friends will telephone you every evening, as they ought to, in order to find out if this doesn't happen to be the evening when you are deciding to commit suicide, or simply whether you don't need company, whether you are not in the mood to go out. No, don't worry, they'll ring up the evening you are not alone, when life is beautiful. As for suicide, they would be more likely to push you to it, by virtue of what you owe to yourself, according to them. May heaven protect us, cher Monsieur, from being set upon a pedestal by our friends!”

    “He had been bored, that's all, bored like most people. Hence he had made himself out of whole cloth a life full of complications and drama. Something must happen - and that explains most human commitments. Something must happen, even loveless slavery, even war or death. Hurray then for funerals!”

    “Have you noticed that death alone awakens our feelings? How we love the friends who have just left us? How we admire those of our teachers who have ceased to speak, their mouths filled with earth! Then the expression of admiration springs forth naturally, that admiration they were perhaps expecting from us all their lives. But do you know why we are always more just and more generous toward the dead? The reason is simple. With them there is no obligation. They leave us free and we can take our time, fit the testimonial between a cocktail party and a nice little mistress, in our spare time, in short.”


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