Facing History Why we love Camus.

1960s: Days of Rage


“The French novelist and philosopher Albert Camus was a terrifically good-looking guy whom women fell for helplessly—the Don Draper of existentialism. This may seem a trivial thing to harp on, except that it is almost always the first thing that comes up when people who knew Camus talk about what he was like. When Elizabeth Hawes, whose lovely 2009 book ‘Camus: A Romance’ is essentially the rueful story of her own college-girl crush on his image, asked survivors of the Partisan Review crowd, who met Camus on his one trip to New York, in 1946, what he was like, they said that he reminded them of Bogart. ‘All I can tell you is that Camus was the most attractive man I have ever met,’ William Phillips, the journal’s editor, said, while the thorny Lionel Abel not only compared him to Bogart but kept telling Hawes that Camus’s central trait was…

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