Franz Kafka

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dostoevsky's Demons and Camus' La chute, The fall, and Kirillov

Cover, a Folio's edition
Portrait of F. Dostoevsky
It is well known Dostoevsky's influence on Albert Camus literary and intellectual development and  formation, as well as the great interest of the latter for the novel "The Possessed", of which he wrote and directed an important  theater   adaptation in 1960.
In Camus' most Dostoevskian work, La Chute, the tantalizing confession of a lifetime, echoes the spiritual dilemma  and torturing distress of the Russian writer's anti-hero Kirillov,  and the many themes revolving around meaninglessness  and absurdity of  human struggle,  the interpretation of the myth of Christ,  collective judgment and self-inflicted punishment, amongst others. In Camus' work though, Dostoevsky's many voices universe  is irrevocably shattered and never to be recomposed. 

The narrative voice of la Chute, the "juge penitent", is a true advocatus diaboli, weaving a spider web that slowly suffocates the reader's esprit and offers no alternative to despair and helplessness. The psychological probe of our individual fragility and the relentless criticism of a morally corrupted society leaves no hope for redemption, nor salvation.  In Camus' thoroughly pessimistic words, a second opportunity is not possible, let alone desirable: "Il est trop tard, maintenant, il sera toujours trop tard. Heureusement!"

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