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The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  39,555 ratings  ·  1,155 reviews
One of the most influential works of this century, this is a crucial exposition of existentialist thought. Influenced by works such as Don Juan, and the novels of Kafka, these essays begin with a meditation on suicide: the question of living or not living in an absurd universe devoid of order or meaning. With lyric eloquence, Camus posits a way out of despair, reaffirming ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published May 7th 1991 by Vintage International (first published 1942)
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Saurav You certainly can download it on Google play or Kindle etc.
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You certainly can download it on Google play or Kindle etc.
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Rakhi Dalal

Camus, as a writer, receives mixed response from the readers. It is understandable when some readers avoid reading him, because he seems a difficult writer whose works are taken to be disturbing. Some readers appreciate his writings though they do not agree with him. While for some, Camus’ ideas are irrelevant when compared with those proposed by existential philosophers. Although Camus is often categorized as an existential philosopher but he himself never approved of that. In one of his interv
...more
Lisa
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nobels
"The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

One must definitely imagine Sisiphus a teacher. Teaching 15-year-olds every day is pretty much like pushing that boulder up the hill. One knows one has to do it, as the future of humanity depends on proper education. It is hard work that requires concentration, and one can never look the other way or take a break. In the evening, one is exhausted, and quite happy to see that stupid boulder
...more
Trevor
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the question of whether it is better to have no hope at all, or to be constantly confronted with dashed hope. There are certainly parts of my life that I have structured so as to ensure that I have no hope at all – that is, that I live my life in such a way that it is impossible for certain things to ever happen, and those are things that otherwise I would desire intensely – and in large part that is because ‘dashed hope’ was proving far ...more
Yuval
May 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Most of my friends will probably think I'm being sarcastic when I call this as good a "self-help" book as any I can imagine, but this essay honestly inspired in me an awe of human nature and its absurd indomitability. I think Camus gets a bad rap for being a cold, detached pessimist who only points out the meaninglessness of life again and again in his books. OK, he may indeed declare life "meaningless," but this book is passionately affirmative of life in the face of that void. Beginning as a r ...more
Lynne King
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing

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.

Only Albert Camus, I believe, could have made that statement.

I’ve tried many times over the years to accept philosophical reasoning by reading various books by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, H
...more
Roy Lotz
I still vividly remember my writing class in my first semester of college. Our professor was a lover of paradoxes. She had us read Kafka and Borges, whom none of us could understand. And she had a habit of asking impossible questions—such as “What does it mean to be infinitely finite?”—and savoring the uncomfortable silences that followed. Once, she even scared us half to death by asking one of these questions, and than yelping like a banshee half a minute later. Quite a good professor.

The final
...more
Simeon
Mar 24, 2011 marked it as to-finish  ·  review of another edition
"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."

- Albert Camus


To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to t
...more
Elie F
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, non-fiction
Sisyphus must be humanism in its fiercest form, but is it as heroic as in Camus' idolization?

Because there is no assured eternality and reason knows its limit, man is forced into the corner of absurdity. There are three available options: 1) Turn away from the absurd and leap into spiritual irrationality; 2) Commit suicide and kill one's self-consciousness which is the very source of the break between one and the world; 3) Keep the absurd alive, live unreconciled, revolt consciously, and scorn t
...more
Jason
Mar 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: slaves, idiots, conceited philosophy students, kafkaphiles, morons
Recommended to Jason by: Ian Karell
Okay, so the basic premise in this book is that there are two schools of thought involved with becoming conscious as a man. There is one in which you become conscious of God, accepting faith as the channel between this world and the next. Existence is a matter of order, one that is concrete and follows the compelling obligations towards the God whom you commit your faith.

The other option is the absurd, for which this book is written. The problem asks is it possible not to commit suicide in a me
...more
David Lentz
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In “Sisyphus” Camus explores the great Greek myth to address Hamlet’s ultimate question as to whether one should be or not be. Camus scoffs at Kierkegaard who also addresses the plight of the Absurd Man, by which both thinkers understand the human condition today when faced with life in which it appears incomprehensible through pure reason. Camus darkly adds that life is ultimately futile because mankind is powerless and after all life is simply an endless series of hardships, which symbolically ...more
Steven Godin
Albert Camus has captured the internal plight of much of the modern world. When a person begins to question his own monotonous reality, seeking to find meaning behind his daily motions of life and failing to find any at all, he comes to contemplate that void. Camus implies that if one were to honestly think about “nothing,” it would be the contemplation of the futility of most questions in life. He exemplifies the fact that the earth revolves around the sun. People lived and died in pursuit of t ...more
Patrick
Dec 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: philosophers, dorm room and otherwise
There was a part of me that really, really, really wanted to give this book 4 stars because of the way it made me think about life and consider and reconsider my own notions about the meaning we make in our worlds. It contained some really interested ideas regarding the philosophy of absurdism, which I would best describe as something of a happy medium between existentialism and nihilism, though I understand Camus himself might consider it nihilism's polar opposite.

That said, I can't say I reall
...more
Gorana
Nov 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Since it is 'the thing' nowadays to put lots of sparkly gifs and pics in a review, who am I to differ?



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"They bear away from their light, while their strict lord Death bids them to dance... and the rain washes, and cleanses the salt of their tears from their cheeks."

Absurd enough.

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...more
Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
It's been 20 years since I've read The Myth of Sisyphus. Although I've wanted to write a review about it ever since joining Goodreads I haven't, because I don't remember it very well. And yet, every time I go through my books-read list and I see it sitting there unreviewed, I get the urge to write one and then I remember that I don't know the book well enough, so I drop it. A few months later I repeat the cycle. It's sort of like pushing the proverbial boulder up the hill and having it roll back ...more
Bettie
 And that is indeed genius: 
the intelligence that knows its frontiers.

Description: One of the most influential works of this century, this is a crucial exposition of existentialist thought. Influenced by works such as Don Juan and the novels of Kafka, these essays begin with a meditation on suicide: the question of living or not living in an absurd universe devoid of order or meaning.

Opening: There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or i
...more
Adrian Colesberry
Classic for a reason. This book is a tonic for any agnostic or cynic struggling with the whole meaning-of-life thing. Camus, in a way that I find totally satisfying, solves that problem without the standard religious cop-out of locating meaning outside this world.
What is wrong with being Sisyphus? Is this a punishment or is this just what life is if you take you head out of the bubble for long enough to see the truth of things. My essential vision of life I more or less cribbed from Camus and S
...more
Mehrsa
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really beautiful and thoughtful essays about a post-God (or more accurately, post-afterlife, society). What to do with the absurdity of life and why live at all?
Tara
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“At any streetcorner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.”

So, what does The Myth of Sisyphus have to say about absurdity and a universe devoid of any clear, evident meaning? Quite a bit!

First, Camus rigorously defines the Absurd:
“I said that the world is absurd, but I was too hasty. The world in itself is not reasonable, that is all that can be said. But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and the wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the h
...more
M.L. Rio
Dense as hell but worth the effort.
Magdalena
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'll admit that philosophy isn't my forte. I ventured into The Myth of Sisyphus because The Stranger was one of the books that shook me the most during my high school years, and left me wanting to read more of Camus. Several years later, I chose this book. This was a tough book to tackle. It took me almost six months to read its 153 pages.

Camus talks about the absurdity of the human condition, where men task on and on as if death wasn't a certainty. Men require an explanation for life, but the
...more
Jim
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most philosophy makes for heavy reading and is (typically) unenlightening. Albert Camus's The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays is a clear exception. The main philosophical essay is a clear statement of the author's existentialism. Plus it is followed by several excellent essays evoking Camus's love of Algeria, his place of birth. ...more
muthuvel
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, anthology

Painting attempt of mine for the sake of philosophical suicide dated 03.07.2018



It happens that the stage sets collapse. Rising, streetcar, four hours in the office or the factory, meal, streetcar, four hours of work, meal, sleep, and Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and Saturday according to the same rhythm—this path is easily followed most of the time. But one day the “why” arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement. “Begins”—this is important.

I wanted to read
...more
Abeer Abdullah
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
the title essay is incredible, other essays come close, but arent as good.
I feel That camus philosophy is actually incredibly optimistic because it draws a being who is totally aware of the futility of his own existence but non the less derives joy from it.
Some days I relate heavily to camus, other days i prefer Schopenhauer's total pessimism.
when it comes to their brands of 'existentialism' i have to say i prefer camus to sartre. sartre attaches too much power to human will, camus understands h
...more
Thomas
This one starts out with a lot of heavy-duty philosophy about how absurd it is for us humans to long for meaning in an indifferent meaningless universe. (Absurdism, I guess) and then goes on to discuss some selected literature along with reminiscences of life in Algeria back in the 1930s along with a few other essays.

Camus seems to feel that life in a meaningless cosmos is okay, though he's definitely not a fan of hope. His defense of Don Juan makes sense considering how he apparently lived his
...more
Ben
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Over the past few weeks I've found myself immersed in Sartre and Camus, beginning with Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism" and then rereading Sartre's essay on Camus (and why reading The Myth of Sisyphus is essential if one is to properly understand The Stranger) and rereading Camus' The Stranger, and then finally reading the present work. I think that The Myth of Sisyphus (and for that matter the other essays in this collection, which Camus wrote prior to Sisyphus, but in which he plants th ...more
Thuys
Jul 27, 2019 added it
If someone's discourse is a building representing the structure of his mind then I find myself in dead end in every corner of this one. Or I need to read over and over again til I could find the way with my eyes closed. Absurd, absurd, absurd... all over the floor.
Mike
Apr 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Okay: I'm not satisfied with The Myth of Sisyphus. I'm equally unsatisfied with my reasons, my critique, and my feelings with regard to The Myth of Sisyphus. Both the text and my reservations to it seem equally unconvincing.

Sometimes, The Myth of Sisyphus feels like this: Camus lists a set of rules for what absurdism means. Then he explains what counts under that definition (actors and conquerors), then what doesn't count after that definition (Dostoevsky, Kafka). Camus sets up a convoluted syst
...more
Tanya
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly enjoyed reading this complex philosophical essay. Camus undoubtedly has a way with words.

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a boulder to the top of a mountain, whence the boulder would fall back on its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

This is when Camus discovers the utility of the Absurd. If the descent towards the underworld leads one to sorrow, it can also lead to joy. Happiness and
...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
The meaninglessness of life. Sigh. I think this is the true path to the wakening of the adult from the child. This bubble bursting awareness that there really may be nothing else out there and that time marches us on toward our inevitable death. Something about the myth at the end though was fairly reassuring. I actually found some strange comfort in this.
Sara Sherra
Jan 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I have a problem with this book.

If i wanted him to say: "The little boy waited at the bus stop for the bus to take him to school.", he would instead say:

"The plump little boy over there, wearing blue jeans shorts and a green striped t-shirt is doing something. He is carrying a small backpack. Who knows what he has inside it. Some people carry backpacks filled with food, some with books and papers, some with clothes. Some backpacks are made of cotton, others of polyester, and other materials, of
...more
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Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work. Of semi-proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest in philosophy (only chance prevented him from pursuing a university care ...more

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