cover image Between Hell and Reason

Between Hell and Reason

Albert Camus. Wesleyan University Press, $35 (182pp) ISBN 978-0-8195-5188-7

Camus ( The Stranger ) was one of the editors of Combat , a newspaper of the French Resistance, during the last two years of WW II and after. This collection makes available in English for the first time 40 editorials he wrote for the paper and his letter of resignation. The pieces allow readers to track his political evolution at the time, groping his way from ``machine guns when necessary'' to ``the refusal to legitimize murder,'' as his disillusion with post-Liberation French politics grew. Regrettably, few things age as badly as newspaper editorials. Although Camus declaims, ``We need words that are more direct and true,'' the writing here often is bloated and pompous. De Gramont's translation reads well, and his introductory essay is succinct and informative, briefly tracing the history of the Resistance and Camus's role in it. The book does contain flashes of the moral outrage that won this Nobel laureate acclaim as a novelist and essayist, and its historical interest is undeniable, but readers looking for more will be disappointed. (Sept.)