Journal of Romance Studies

Camus and Sartre on violence – the unresolved conflict

Journal of Romance Studies (2006), 6, (1-2), 67–77.


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The unresolved conflict between Camus and Sartre over terrorism, violence and colonialism reflects some of today’s arguments over similar issues. Above all, the two men disagreed over how to overcome the structural violence of imperialism and colonialism and whether terrorism can ever be justified. The starting terms for the discussion appear in my Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Conflict That Ended It (Aronson 2004); this article goes on to explore the half-truth and half-blindness characteristic of each man on these issues. Today we might bring their insights together only by insisting on a coherent analysis that includes understanding both structural or systemic violence and revolutionary violence and terrorism. I appeal for judging all sides in contemporary conflicts by a single standard.

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Author details

Aronson, Ronald