WHEN Albert Camus was killed in a car crash 50 years ago on January 4th, at the age of 46, he had already won the Nobel prize for literature, and his best-known novel, “L’Etranger” (“The Stranger” or “The Outsider”), had introduced readers the world over to the philosophy of the absurd. Yet, at the time of his death, Camus found himself an outcast in Paris, snubbed by Jean-Paul Sartre and other left-bank intellectuals, and denounced for his freethinking refusal to yield to fashionable political views. As his daughter has said: “Papa was alone.”

50年前的1月4日,阿尔贝•加缪死于车祸,享年46岁,他曾获诺贝尔文学奖,名作《局外人》向全世界读者介绍了荒诞主义思想。而临终时,加缪觉得自己是巴黎的弃儿,让•保罗•萨特和其他右翼知识分子冷落他,指责他的自由思想不肯向时髦的政治观点让步。加缪的女儿这样说道:“爸爸是孤身一人。”

Today, by contrast, the French are proud to consider Camus a towering figure, while Sartre’s star has faded. Even President Nicolas Sarkozy, from the political right, has proposed transferring the writer’s remains from Provence to the Panthéon in Paris. Several new books mark the anniversary of his death, including an elegant illustrated volume by Catherine Camus, one of his twin children and custodian of her father’s estate.

相比之下,时下的法国自豪地把加缪看做伟大作家,而萨特的名气早已消逝。连来自右翼政治派别的尼古拉•萨科奇总统都提议,把加缪的遗骨从普罗旺斯迁到巴黎的先贤祠。纪念加缪逝世50周年的几本新书中,有卡特琳娜•加缪文笔优美、附带插图的作品,卡特琳娜是加缪的双胞胎女儿之一,守护着父亲的遗产。

The reader in search of literary criticism, or even the origins of absurdist thought, will not find it in the three new biographies. That by José Lenzini, a French former journalist, is the most unusual, retracing Camus’s last journey from Provence to Paris as a series of imaginary flashbacks through his life. The other two are more conventional but both finely drawn, digestible portraits of the football-playing “little poor child”, as Camus called himself, from Algiers, who came to leave such a mark on literature and moral thought.

寻找文学批评乃至荒诞主义来源的读者,在这三本新书里会一无所获。曾当过法国记者的若斯•伦兹尼的传记最为与众不同,通过加缪一生中一系列的闪回镜头,追溯他从普罗旺斯到巴黎的旅程。其他两本书更为传统,不过都细致刻画了这个来自阿尔及利亚,踢足球的 “穷小子”的形象,加缪这样称呼自己,他给文学和道德思想打下了这样的烙印。

A double haunting presence looms throughout all the books: that of Algeria, where Camus was born, and of his mother, Catherine. Before he was a year old, the infant Albert lost his father, an early settler in French Algeria, in the battle of the Marne. His mute and illiterate mother, and her extended family, raised her two sons in a small flat in Algiers with neither a lavatory nor running water. Alain Vircondelet writes movingly of the “minuscule life” in the apartment with nothing: “those white sheets, his mother’s folded hands, a handkerchief and a little comb.” Her purity and silent dignity marked her son, as he struggled to confront his own shame at such poverty—and his shame at being ashamed. “With those we love,” he once said of her, “we have ceased to speak, and this is not silence.”

所有的书中都有两个挥之不去的形象:加缪出生的阿尔及利亚和他的母亲卡特琳娜。加缪的父亲是法属阿尔及利亚的侨民,加缪还不满一岁时,父亲就在马恩战役中阵亡。加缪的母亲沉默寡言、目不识丁,她和家人共同抚养两个儿子,住在阿尔及利亚的一套小公寓里,没有厕所也没有自来水。阿兰•威孔德莱特动人地写出了当时的“琐碎生活”,公寓里一无所有,“一条条白床单,母亲的双手叠在一起,一条手帕和一把小梳子。”母亲纯洁沉默的自尊心影响了儿子,他努力正视贫困带来的羞愧,为自己的难为情感到惭愧。他曾经提到母亲:“我们有爱,就算话说完了,也不是一片寂静。”

That the young Albert went to the French lycée, and then to university in Algiers, was thanks to two inspiring teachers with whom he kept in touch throughout his life; he dedicated his Nobel prize to one of them. Camus began writing, as a reporter and dramatist, in a land that was then part of France—and yet apart. His was the solitude, self-doubt and restlessness of dislocation and displacement. The young man who emerges from Virgil Tanase’s biography in particular is seductive, funny and loving, but constantly on the move: between the raw, sun-drenched Mediterranean and cramped, grey Paris, ever in search of respite from crippling bouts of tuberculosis, as well as comfort from the various women he charmed and loved with a passion.

多亏了两位老师的鼓励,小阿尔贝进了法国的高中,终其一生他都和老师们保持联系,还把获得的诺贝尔奖献给了其中一位老师。在那片当时属于法国现已独立的土地上,加缪当上了记者和剧作家,开始写作。他独自一人、自我怀疑,心里不断地崩溃错位。在维吉尔•塔纳斯的传记中,这个年轻人特别富有魅力、可爱有趣,但是经常四处游荡:从风光自然、阳光充沛的地中海到拥挤灰暗的巴黎,即使患了严重的肺结核病愈后,他也会吸引爱慕各种女人,从她们身上寻找安慰。

History finds Camus on the right side of so many of the great moral issues of the 20th century. He joined the French resistance to combat Nazism, editing an underground newspaper, Combat. He campaigned against the death penalty. A one-time Communist, his anti-totalitarian work, “L’Homme Révolté” (“The Rebel”), published in 1951, was remarkably perceptive about the evils of Stalinism. It also led to his falling-out with Sartre, who at the time was still defending the Soviet Union and refusing to condemn the gulags.

在20世纪重大的道德问题上,加缪一贯站在正义的一边。他加入过法国抵抗组织,对纳粹作战,主办了一份地下报纸《战斗》。他参加过反对死刑的运动。当过共产党员的加缪于1951年出版了反对极权主义的作品《反叛者》,鲜明剖析了斯大林主义的弊端。此举引发了他和萨特的争执,当时萨特依然一直捍卫苏联,拒绝谴责古拉格集中营。

Camus left Algeria for mainland France, but Algeria never left him. As the anti-colonial rebellion took hold in the 1950s, his refusal to join the bien pensant call for independence was considered an act of treason by the French left. Even as terror struck Algiers, Camus was vainly urging a federal solution, with a place for French settlers. When he famously declared that “I believe in justice, but I will defend my mother before justice,” he was denounced as a colonial apologist. Nearly 40 years later, Mr Lenzini tracked down the Algerian former student who provoked that comment at a press conference. He now confesses that, at the time, he had read none of Camus’s work, and was later “shocked” and humbled to come across the novelist’s extensive reporting on Arab poverty.

加缪离开阿尔及利亚奔赴法国大陆,但是阿尔及利亚从未舍弃他。20世纪50年代,反殖民主义运动爆发,加缪不肯加入要求独立的正统派,法国右翼把独立看做叛国行为。即使阿尔及利亚爆发恐怖事件,加缪仍徒劳地主张联邦政府来解决,给予法国侨民地位。他宣布“我相信正义,但是我捍卫我的祖国胜过正义,”而闻名于世,有人指责他是殖民地的辩护者。将近40年后,伦兹尼追溯到这个曾经的阿尔及利亚学生在新闻发布会上怒不可遏。他坦承,他没有读过加缪的书,偶然发现这位小说家曾广泛地报道阿拉伯的贫困,他感到“震惊”和谦卑。

The public recognition that Camus achieved in his lifetime never quite compensated for the wounds of rejection and disdain from those he had thought friends. He suffered cruelly at the hands of Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and their snobbish, jealous literary clique, whose savage public assassination of Camus after the publication of “The Rebel” left deep scars. “You may have been poor once, but you aren’t anymore,” Sartre lashed out in print.

大家认为,加缪一生取得的成就,根本不能弥补有些人厌弃鄙视他的伤痛,他曾经把这些人视为朋友。由于萨特和西蒙娜•德•波伏娃的势利,充满妒忌的文学圈子,他深受伤害,加缪出版了《反叛者》后,这两人公开对他猛烈抨击,留下了深深的伤痕。萨特大书特书:“你或许一度贫穷,却再也不能贫穷。”

“He would remain an outsider in this world of letters, confined to existential purgatory,” writes Mr Lenzini: “He was not part of it. He never would be. And they would never miss the chance to let him know that.” They accepted him, says Mr Tanase, “as long as he yielded to their authority.” What Sartre and his friends could not forgive was the stubborn independent-mindedness which, today, makes Camus appear so morally lucid, humane and resolutely modern.更多信息请访问:http://www.24en.com/

“加缪在文学界仍是个局外人,禁闭在炼狱里,”伦兹尼写道,“他不是文学界的一部分,从来都不是。他们不放过任何一个机会让加缪明白这一点。”塔纳斯说:“只要加缪屈从于他们的权威,他们就接纳他。”萨特和他的盟友不能宽恕的是顽固的独立思想,这一点让加缪在当今显得道德清白、富有人性、思想入时。