The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

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The Myth of Sisyphus is a philosophical essay by Albert Camus. It comprises about 120 pages and was published originally in 1942 in French as Le Mythe de Sisyphe; the English translation by Justin O'Brien followed in 1955. In the essay, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man's futile search for meaning, unity and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values. Does the realization of the absurd require suicide? Camus answers: "No. It requires revolt." He then outlines several approaches to the absurd life. The final chapter compares the absurdity of man's life with the situation of Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a rock up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. The essay concludes, "The struggle itself...is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." The work can be seen in relation to other works by Camus: the novel The Stranger (1942), the play Caligula (1945), and especially the essay The Rebel (1951).

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The 89th greatest nonfiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 36th on The 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century (National Review)
  2. - The Bigger Read List (English PEN)

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