The Myth of Sisyphus
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The Myth of Sisyphus

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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  4,253 ratings  ·  135 reviews
In this essay, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man's futile search for meaning, unity, and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values. Does the realization of the absurd require suicide? Camus answers: "No. It requires revolt." He then outlines several approaches to the absurd life.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 30th 2000 by Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
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The Stranger by Albert CamusNotes from Underground by Fyodor DostoyevskyCrime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Trial by Franz KafkaThe Plague by Albert Camus
Best Existential Fiction
15th out of 171 books — 315 voters
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Nobel Laureates
50th out of 382 books — 292 voters


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Erik Graff
Oct 09, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: troubled teens
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: philosophy
By the end of high school I was a very unhappy person and had been so since our family moved from unincorporated Kane County to Park Ridge, Illinois when I was ten. At the outset the unhappiness was basically consequent upon leaving a rural setting, small school and friendly, integrated working-class neighborhood for a reactionary suburb, large school and unfriendly upper middle-class populace whose children were, by and large, just as thoughtlessly racist and conservative as their parents were....more
Zanna
A good friend introduced me to Nietzsche in my early teens, and Nietzsche and I have had a turbulent relationship ever since. One of the first adult books I read was Kafka's The Trial and Nietzsche was there too, inviting me to step off the city on poles into the bottomless swamp.

Oh baby hold my hand
we're gonna walk on water


Nietzsche said there are no facts, no truth. After he said this, some philosophers stopped writing like Kant and wrote like poets. Camus says here that 'there is no truth, m...more
Rowland Bismark
Albert Camus (1913–1960) is not a philosopher so much as a novelist with a strong philosophical bent. He is most famous for his novels of ideas, such as The Stranger and The Plague, both of which are set in the arid landscape of his native Algeria.

Camus studied philosophy at the University of Algiers, which brought him into contact with two of the major branches of twentieth century philosophy: existentialism and phenomenology. Existentialism arises from an awareness that there is no pre-ordaine...more
Greg Deane
Albert Camus observed in “The Myth of Sisyphus” that ‘There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest – whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories – comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer.’ Sisyphus trickster, and the founder of Corinth, who was so bold that he deceived the gods. For...more
David Williamson
This should be called 'The Myth of Sisyphus: and some tagged on essays that are not really relevant'. There seems to be three travel essays, although interesting are arbitrary to the main text (however, 'Helen in Exile' is very good).



Camus' book is a stark contrast to the 'The Outsider', which although complex, uses langauge in a matter of fact way. To the point, but articulate. The Myth of Sisyphus does not. Its use of poetic language and structure can be difficult to dissect, and at times is j...more
Alex Leskanich
Can an individual live without appeal? That is the question formed at the heart of this book. But appeal to what? God? Immortality? Absolute meaning? The hope of salvation, of redemption? Yes, all those things and more are sought as means of escape from the Absurd - which is the life which knows its limitations, and resists the desire to appeal. It lives on hope instead, but a hope different to the one offered by the monotheistic traditions, or that offered by the material consumption of things...more
Kat
"There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide." Thus begins Camus' Myth of Sisyphus. The Myth is one of the great existential books, explaining much of the philosophy behind Camus' fiction, The Stranger, The Fall and The Plague. Camus argues that if we have no God, how do we create meaning in life? It is by rebelling against the knowledge of death and choosing to live anyway.

While The Myth of Sisyphus isn't the easiest philosophical treatise to read, it is an importa...more
TarasProkopyuk
Жизнь в которой мы спим абсурдна.

Но автор в своём эссе беспощадно будит нас. Напоминает о том, что мы спим, напоминает о действительности! В примере героя древнего мифа Камю показывает абсурдность жизни в целом.

В данном эссе есть ещё несколько интересных рассуждений, с которыми трудно согласиться, но отрицать их нельзя.

Должен сказать что произведение автора получилось немного скучноватым, но возможно автор таким образом лишь пытался разбудить своего дремлющего читателя.
Joshua
The main part of this book is taken up by the title essay, The Myth of Sisyphus. In this essay Camus talks about the absurd life we live, whether or not we should commit suicide, and various ways people might live their lives to get around the inherent absurdity. I have to say the methods outlined seemed fairly ridiculous which is fitting because the Universe is absurd anyway. The essay is summed up with the story of Sisyphus who rolls a giant boulder up a mountain only to see it roll down again...more
Kislay Verma
Excerpts from my review at Solomon Says:

Albert Camus takes a very all-or-nothing view of life. Either reason explains everything, or it is nothing. Either we are illusory, or we are eternal. His other insistence is in trying to understand the world on his own sensory terms. His idea of freedom is only in terms of what can be heard, or seen, or otherwise experienced. Everything else is transcendental or abstract. Both these constraints prohibit him from giving full rein to either horn of his Absu...more
Jeffrey Mays
I did finish it, barely. And I didn't have any stomach left to read the appendix. This essay is very hard going - unreadable some would say. With more effort than I usually put into any book, I was able to stay with the argument. There would be several pages at a time that I didn't understand. Fortunately, I would pick up the track of the argument again and see that I hadn't missed anything.

The stated premise of the book is to explain the only important question in Philosophy - whether or not o...more
Jonathon
Instead of acting like a pretentious douche bag (which I normally do); I am going to be honest......Camus is some dense shit (I also read "the rebel" and was pretty clueless with that too.... except for some brief moments).... I have a hard time wrapping my head around his stuff....I do catch things here and there..The stuff I do catch is pretty good!..I get bits and pieces here and there, but have a hard time making sense of it all.... Though he is supposedly the true "working class", poetic ph...more
Passive Apathetic
Penguin'in Great Xs serilerinin yılmaz bir takipçi olarak, ne zamandır gidip gelip bakıp yalandığım Great Ideas serisinden birkaç kitabı bugün zulama attım nihayet. Açılışı da, geçen seneden beri "Stravgonin gibisin!" diyerek başımın etini yiyen ve beni "If Stravrogin believes, he does not think he believes. If he does not believe, he does not think he does not believe." atıflarıyla canımdan yıldıran Dostocu dostumun hatrına Kamü ile yapmaya karar verdim.
Bernardo
Had to give up on this book after 50 pages. I'm a big fan of existentialism and philosophy in general but this book left me completely unsatisfied. Besides a really important idea: that suicide is the only serious philosophical problem, I don't really think The Myth of Sisyphus has much to offer. It's either an extremely tough read or just plain incoherent babble. I'm inclined to say it is the latter. Overall, a huge disappointment.
Elsa
May 27, 2008 Elsa marked it as to-read
Me lo acaban de recomendar, lo acabo de comprar. A ver qué tal está, ay que soy muy estúpida, bujú.

Pinches imbéciles incompetentes.

(lo escribí enojada esto, pero me rehúso a quitarlo, se oye bien, no? Violento... muchachos, no lean a mandeville, saca lo pioooor de ustedes).
Maryam
probably the most influential book i will ever read.. so ya

changed my life
Marius
Filosofia Absurdului pe înţelesul omului profan.
Logan Pecinovsky
That's just how he rolls.
Tony
The Myth of Sisyphus is broken down into four parts counting out the Appendix at the end. The parts are entitled as follows:
- An Absurd Reasoning
- The Absurd Man
- Absurd Creation
- The Myth of Sisyphus
The first three parts beget Albert Camus’s philosophy, even though he restrains at the opening of the book from calling it so, notifying that the essay will merely describe the ‘intellectual malady’ that is absurdity.
Camus inaugurates the book magnificently with a firm assertion: “There is but one t...more
Mohammad Hassan
در مورد جناب سیزیف: قهرمان دنیای پوچ

سنگی را به بالای کوه می‌غلتاند. شیب تند است و بی‌رحم٬ سنگ سنگین است و بددست٬ کوه کمرکِش‌ست و کُش. هربار که چشم‌درچشم قله می‌شد در ذهنش می‌گذشت که: < نزدیک است! چیزی نمانده! گردنه‌ی آخرست!> آخرین‌ها ولی پایانی نداشت. هر آخر خود آغازی بود بر بی‌نهایت. نشانه‌ای بود بر خط مستقیم زمان. ساعتش محور ایکس بود: نامحدود٬ تا بی‌نهایت؛ نه آن دایره‌ی ۱۱ تکه که پیشینیان به ما حقنه‌اش کرده‌اند: آن که شروعی دارد و پایانی٬ تریاکی تسکین‌بخش بر گذشت زمان.
نزدیکی‌های قله٬ انت...more
S.D. Johnson
I was quite disappointed with this work. Although the prose is initially stunning in places, for example - "Si absurde il y a, c'est dans l'univers de l'homme. Des l'instant ou sa notion se transforme en tremplin d'eternite, elle n'est plus liee a la lucidite humaine." Which loosely translates as, "If ever the absurd existed, it is on the human plane. From the moment where the idea of it is transformed on the springboard of eternity, it severs ties with everything lucid in human experience." A t...more
Doug Newdick
Albert Camus has a certain mystique - aided by his early death. Reading this essay one can easily see why. He poses hard, oblique, questions in alluring language. There is a certain pleasure in letting the beautifully written words flow over one, but I'm not convinced that they always bear close scrutiny - and therein lies the closely related failing of the book. The lack of rational engagement with the subject allows Camus great freedom of expression, but also means that he treats his subject m...more
Anthony

Man has been on an eternal quest since evolving from his primitive pre-civilized state to find meaning to the world in which he has been thrust into. From the earliest days of our tribal ancestors we have sought to explain the cosmos and nature, mostly out of curiosity and fear, but in searching for these answers we may have neglected to consider the possibility that no answer awaits us. What then, if not suicide and desolation, awaits us when life, the universe, and everything is meaningless? I...more
Marc Livingstone
I only did 1st year philosophy at University, so it's definitely not my area of expertise, I say that to qualify what I'm about to say about this book. The central argument of the Myth of Sisyphus (I am told) is that life is absurd but that you shouldn't kill yourself because of this. I didn't really understand/ accept this argument, (I do agree that one shouldn't kill oneself except under really extreme circumstances) but I still really enjoyed reading it.

I am of the opinion that if a person h...more
Outis
Literary types used to love this ur-*punk manifesto. And I'll concede there's good stuff in there among the dated, pretentious and repetitive fluff. But mostly it's just painful to watch Camus miss the mark. Interesting too because he didn't miss it by much and the way he missed it informs us about his culture.
It's mostly the beginning that's interesting in that way. Camus tries to lay the philosophical foundation for conclusions we mostly take for granted nowadays because they do not actually d...more
Louisa
Camus' meditation on the absurd and meaning in life is a literary argument with a philosophical bent. Camus wavers between these two modes of articulation in this sometimes dense, sometimes poetic work. I suggest reading this work and letting it wash over you, let the language and imagery and challenges it pose work their influence at a more emotive level. Then read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry linked below to help clarify the philosophical elements of the book.

"To a man devoid...more
Ugh
Perhaps I shouldn't rate a book that I haven't finished, particularly when the reason for my not finishing it is that I found it beyond my abilities, but I think a rating might be helpful for others out there of similar ability debating whether or not to give this a try, so heck: two stars.

It's just not written in a very accessible way. Part of me wonders whether that's intentional, and if so then I suppose I ought to be annoyed enough to opt for just a one star verdict. But I also suspect it wo...more
Diah Sukmawati
The first philosiphical essay I read.
Yay!!!
Nope. I don't really get the whole intetpretation actually. I mean a lot of philosophers become thought-influence of Camus (Nietzche, Chestov, Kierkegaard) and I have NO basic understanding of Existentialism nor (what's it called ah Nihilism)

But I really like the opening statement of this essay though; "There is but one trully serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging wether life is or not worth living and all the rest, comes afterwar...more
Tom
I re-read this book at a time of emotional upheaval, some months ago, in a vain search for grounding and answers. At the time of re-reading I was willing to answer Camus' fundamental questions with 'no' and 'yes.' At the time of writing this review, my answer has swapped; providing a strange sense of perspective on this book.

Camus' book regards what he considers the 'one truly philosophical question;' that is, Should one commit suicide? and Is life worth living? For Camus, any philosophical spec...more
Amar Kamat
As man evolved from lower species, his rational faculties became sharper. During much humbler times, his brain seems to have evolved solely to assist him in keeping himself alive, by finding better and more efficient ways to procure food, clothing and shelter. This seems to have had an adverse and unexpected effect: as a result of his superior intelligence, man began to have thoughts that his ancestors could not have before, that is, about his own origin and how exactly he fit into the universe...more
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ملتقى الفكر التقدمي: هل الوجود عبثي 7 129 Jan 22, 2013 12:18AM  
957894
Albert Camus was an Algerian-born French author, philosopher, and journalist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He is often cited as a proponent of existentialism (the philosophy that he was associated with during his own lifetime), but Camus himself rejected this particular label. Specifically, his views contributed to the rise of the more current philosophy known as absurdis...more
More about Albert Camus...
The Stranger The Plague The Fall The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt

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