Danger Kallisti's Reviews > Hell

Hell by Henri Barbusse
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's review
Feb 12, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: debauched-intellectualism, must-read
Recommended for: dissolute Francophile philosophers
Read in January, 2008

The back cover of Hell brashly refers to it as “the most highly focused study of voyeurism ever written”. Though one would argue that any great French novel is at least part fetishism, the true purpose of Hell is not to study the watched, but to study how the watcher uses this data to explore himself. More than anything else, Hell is a book of solipsist philosophy, and one of the best I’ve read (not an easy title to gain from this reader, by the way).

Barbusse beautifully illustrates that the only reality anyone may know is that subjective reality within his own heart and mind, and that regardless of the objective world taking place outside, the only one which can possibly matter to the individual is that existence which he personally witnesses:

“I do not know whether the universe has any reality apart from me. What I do know is that its reality occurs only through the instrumentality of my thought, and that in the first place it exists only through the concept I have of it.”
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Quotes Danger Liked

Henri Barbusse
“I believe that around us there is only one word on all sides, one immense word which reveals our solitude and extinguishes our radiance: Nothing! I believe that that word does not point to our insignificance or our unhappiness, but on the contrary to our fulfillment and our divinity, since everything is in ourselves.”
Henri Barbusse, Hell

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