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The Rebel

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  11,998 ratings  ·  492 reviews
By one of the most profoundly influential thinkers of our century, The Rebel is a classic essay on revolution. For Albert Camus, the urge to revolt is one of the "essential dimensions" of human nature, manifested in man's timeless Promethean struggle against the conditions of his existence, as well as the popular uprisings against established orders throughout history. And ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Vintage (first published 1951)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
530. L'Homme révolté = The Rebel, Albert Camus
The Rebel is a 1951 book-length essay by Albert Camus, which treats both the metaphysical and the historical development of rebellion and revolution in societies, especially Western Europe. Camus relates writers and artists as diverse as Epicurus and Lucretius, the Marquis de Sade, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Stirner, André Breton, and others in an integrated, historical portrait of man in revolt. Exami
As long as mankind has told stories, the topic of rebellion has been central.

“Man’s disobedience and the loss thereupon of Paradise”, as well as Satan’s rebellion against the oppressive authority of God in Heaven are the two main strands in Milton’s classic Paradise Lost, to just name one of countless examples, summing up human experience in unforgettable drama.

Camus analyses the topic from a philosophical and historical viewpoint, and gives a perfect example for his thesis on revolution and t
. . .As soon as a man, through lack of character, takes refuge in doctrine, as soon as crime reasons about itself, it multiplies like reason itself and assumes all the aspects of the syllogism. . . . The purpose of this essay is once again to face the reality of the present, which is logical crime, and examine meticulously the arguments by which it is justified.(p. 3)

This can be very interesting if, like me, you abhor historical Sovietism and all that it has wrought. I found that Sarah Bakewell'
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood, essays
Although I've always been temperamentally skeptical of Utopias, I'm thankful to Camus for completely inoculating me, as a 15-year-old, against the various postures of chic revolt so common among the teenagers of bored, affluent nations. There was no silk-screened Che across my bosom. Revolutions aren't secular versions of the Rapture, in which the "bad" government disappears, to be replaced by a new, "good" one. Revolution is generally a social calamity, a nightmare of inhumanity: one regime dis ...more
Rakhi Dalal
Camus makes me think. He is the author who has the power to steer my thoughts, along the line of his beliefs. He is dead. If he were alive, I am sure he would have supported the readers' movement against the irrational outlook of GR administration as regarding the freedom of readers to express their views. He would have hailed their rebellion and joined in to support, because I am sure he understood that all readers have their own opinions. He wouldn't be bothered by criticism.

As the choreograph
Rakhi Dalal
Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elham by: Wars
Shelves: france, essay, camus
The Rebel is the longest and at some points most difficult essay I’ve ever read. I think the title of the book itself is enough attractive for both Camus fans and other readers to choose this book.

But who is a rebel?!

A rebel is someone who says no – to a master. He was a slave, a labor, perhaps a mechanical iron man built by bolts and nuts who did whatever he was said to do. But the moment he rises and rebels he feels the stream of blood in his veins. He feels he’s alive. Despite this alive and

Interesting book, though I also found it challenging to read. I don't know nearly enough about French literature or philosophy. But the basic question he asks is extremely relevant. We hate injustice, and intuitively it seems clearly right to revolt against unjust authority. So why does it nearly always go so wrong when we do so, and end up with an even worse injustice?
May 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who like to think
Although Camus is remembered more as a literary author than a philosopher, I think this work is fantastic. It's influenced me and my thinking more than any other author (apart from perhaps Nietzsche and George Steiner). Because Camus is such a wonderful author it is also not a particularely difficult read, as opposed to, say, Sartre's philosophical works (I do like Being and Nothingness, but he's really overdoing it), which makes it accessible for those who have not been educated in philosophy a ...more
Steven Godin
There was a time a few years ago when I read a lot of Camus, there was a big binge on him in fact, as I was deeply interested in his work, both fiction and non-fiction. But that interest slowly started to wear down and he was eventually nudged aside, because, dare I say it, I'd had enough of him. Not because he wasn't a brilliant writer, of course he was, but because I simply read too much of him. Well, I really should have read this back then, when his books really fascinated me more. Camus her ...more
May 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
I must confess that I didn't find much that was especially insightful in Camus' account of rebellion, revolution, and nihilism here while reading it, but now that I look back on it, I see that he actually has much to say--and that much of it is worthwhile.

Camus begins by defining the rebel as one who affirms by negating, who says yes in saying no--one who decries absolute freedom in establishing limits to acceptable behavior. He thus immediately counterposes the rebel with the nihilist, who, in
Jim Coughenour
I admit – when I first picked up The Rebel in this artful Penguin edition, I was picturing beatniks with berets and cigarettes contesting over existentialist espressos about the absurdity of man and the imperative to resist. Instead I found myself pounding through pages of difficult, beautifully-phrased polemic, never quite sure what was being argued for or against. It's not so much that Camus meanders as that he seems to take a very long, philosophical-historical route to reach the most obvious ...more
Al Bità
Jan 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-crit, social-crit

You know those kinds of books which you read amid the din of everyday life and you eventually finish while the whole time you realize that so much has gone past, gone by, that you can only feel the whoosh of wisdom, ideas and reflections going right over your head?

That's sort of how I feel about this book.

It's the sort of feeling when you are reading more or less the way you usually do- a lot of attention here, too little attention there- and all the while you just know in your bones that you'r
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
In The Rebel, Albert Camus, the master of existentialism, analyzed the spirit of rebellion from the French Revolution to the Russian Revolution. The Jacobins, rebelled against King and God and by making their principles divine, introduced the Reign of Terror.
Nihilism went further and eliminated absolute principles and its rise during the second half of the nineteenth century created terrorists who renounced virtue and principles and who rebelled against reality and history by destroying them. F
عماد العتيلي

“If we believe in nothing, if nothing has any meaning and if we can affirm no values whatsoever, then everything is possible and nothing has any importance.”.

Another AMAZING book!
I can’t describe the happiness I experienced while reading this masterpiece. MINDBLOWING!


When I read Camus, I feel that he knows exactly what he’s talking about. He doesn’t miss a thing. The reader starts with an essential question: Who is the rebel? And ends with an incredibly perfect understanding.
Camus is n
I usually don't read philosophical texts. Whenever I read one I have already forgotten what was said on a page once I've reached its bottom. Camus is completely different. He explains the world and other philosopher's work as no one else does and in a way that makes you understand everything he and others said.
The Rebel is an utterly brilliant work which explains you half of all the classics ever written, from Dostoevsky to Sade or Lautréamont and lots of philosopher's works like Hegel, Nietzsc
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
This latter work by Camus discusses the implications of rebellion namely that when a slave says no to a command and rebels a master they are not only saying no but implicitly saying yes to a certain value either in themselves or in the name of shared humanity. Such rebellions put boundaries around the master. Thus far no further. However, since 1789 rebellions began to succeed and the problem of the use of violence in the service of values becomes a central problem. Murder in the service of logi ...more
Anthony Ruta
Reading this book was very challenging but in the end it's well worth the effort.
The message and core ideas of this book are so poignant and raw that it vastly outshines what I would consider to be its overly dense and confusing prose.
Camus takes the reader on a journey to the history of philosophy and historical revolutions. In concise anecdotes, covering the French Revolution to the Russian Revolutions, Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, Lenin, Nietzsche, The Marquis de Sade and Surrealism; easily moving
On page 303 of Albert Camus's windy, long-form essay on the nature of rebellion, the failures of religion, Nihilism and Marxism, he approaches the point:

"Man can master in himself everything that should be mastered. He should rectify in creation everything that can be rectified. And after he has done so, children will still die unjustly even in a perfect society. Even by his greatest effort man can only propose to diminish arithmetically the sufferings of the world. But the injustice and the su
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew. This is one book that I will unabashedly confirm my pride in having read. It was that difficult. In the past I probably would have given up on it. But I picked it up in honor of Camus' 100th birthday and it would have been disrespectful to his memory to leave it unfinished.

What's more, it was damn compelling and thought-provoking for a good chunk of the time. Not uniformly -- there was a ton of stuff that just flew over my head -- but all of the "Historical Rebellion" (Part III), for inst
Brittany Binowski
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Skip the 150 pages in the middle of the book. Just read the beginning and the end. The background and history is long-winded and irrelevant, but the takeaways are golden.

Here's what I got from it:

-The next great war is that between the artists and the conquerors. We don't know who will win, we just know that one of them will win.

-The problem with conquerors is that they can destroy, but they can't create. The problem with artists is that they can create, but they can't destroy. The victor, or th
Ramblin' Man
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Jesus, I have never read someone who contradicts himself so much. The rebel actually is the one who wants to be enslaved the most??? What the fuck is this dude talking about?? I get tid bits here and there of this shit, but clearly I am not trained in the art of philosophy; Im trained in the art of being a lazy asshole who bitches about famous books and is jealous because he knows deep down in his dark, withered heart, he will never amount to anything. With this said, I cant stop reading this fu ...more
Sep 15, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: existentialist philosophy, revolution
i think camus' ambitions far outdistanced his abilities in this work. he's a great novelist, but not really a philosopher. this book seems to be an attempt to place himself alongide of sartre in french philosophy of his time. camus attempts to create a coherent philosophical system to address revolution and it just comes across as ramblings. the book doesn't make much sense and isn't really any good. camus addresses the human condition much more effectively in his novels and the myth of sysyphus ...more
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Too many young or neophyte readers come to Camus really seeking someone like Herman Hesse. Camus seems exotic and rogue-ish; an outsider; his 'existentialism' (in itself a mistaken label) is so often mistaken for a tacit 'approval' of aloofness, remoteness; iconoclasm; emotional detachment and alieninity. All of these postures appeal strongly to teen readers; adolescents; and intellectual dilettantes. Thus, everyone casually associates Camus with 'The Stranger' and other works of stylish abstrac ...more
Christos Markou
Feb 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, very boring book. I literally forced myself to read it for 40 days thinking it will improve (I could not read more than 5 pages per day), because there were some (very few) good quotes and it was not a political propaganda. But at the end I was so upset I gave up at the last 20 pages!
Jackson Cyril
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
'Rebellion, in its most radical sense, leads to tyranny' so argues Camus in this extended essay which begins, as these things tend to, with the Greeks, and includes a significant discussion on the ideas of French thinkers from the Marquis de Sade down regarding rebellion. A fantastic introduction to the works of many thinkers unknown outside the Francophone world, and a stimulating discussion on those-- i.e. Milton and Blake, more familiar to us in the English-speaking world.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has been one of the hardest essays I've ever had to read. I've had to put it down several times. Certainly not because it is not engaging but merely because I had to go look up many of the concepts Camus was referencing. So as a heads up, this is not an easy read but certainly worthwhile.

In this legendary essay, he describes rebellion and revolution historically, metaphysically and even through art, rebellion against creation, the human condition, for order, slave against master and m
Ronan Johnson
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably Camus' masterpiece, and the finest, most mature, and controlled take on his very accessible and, above all, humane philosophy. You could even read it in isolation, or before any of his other works; it's reflective as well as a development of the ideas thrown about in The Outsider and The Plague that didn't always make the transfer to The Myth of Sisyphus so easily, however stunning that essay is alone. I find myself comparing him to Dostoevsky a lot in terms of the ideas he play ...more
Jacob van Berkel
Sep 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: tribune
Like a woolly mammoth, sans the mammoth.

Some thoughts in this book are alright, of course, but it takes a wrong turn right from the start. Because when an homme revolts, that doesn't necessarily mean he revolts for *all* of mankind, including the masters he is revolting against, nor does it mean he has unearthed some human value to which the homme in question is appealing.

Why Camus leaves out the possibility that the homme in question simply revolts for himself, for his own dignity and wellbei
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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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“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.” 797 likes
“If we believe in nothing, if nothing has any meaning and if we can affirm no values whatsoever, then everything is possible and nothing has any importance.” 293 likes
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