By Neil Foxlee
On eight February 1937 the 23-year-old Albert Camus gave an inaugural lecture for a brand new Maison de l. a. tradition, or group arts centre, in Algiers. Entitled ‘La nouvelle tradition méditerranéenne’ (‘The New Mediterranean Culture’), Camus’s lecture has been interpreted in significantly alternative ways: whereas a few critics have brushed aside it as an incoherent piece of juvenilia, others see it as key to realizing his destiny improvement as a philosopher, no matter if because the first expression of his so-called ‘Mediterranean humanism’ or as an early indication of what's noticeable as his basically colonial mentality.
These a number of interpretations are in keeping with studying the textual content of ‘The New Mediterranean Culture’ in one context, even if that of Camus’s existence and paintings as a complete, of French discourses at the Mediterranean or of colonial Algeria (and French discourses on that country). against this, this research argues that Camus’s lecture - and in precept any historic textual content - has to be obvious in a multiplicity of contexts, discursive and in a different way, if readers are to appreciate effectively what its writer was once doing in writing it. utilizing Camus’s lecture as a case research, the publication presents a close theoretical and functional justification of this ‘multi-contextualist’ technique.
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Extra info for Albert Camus's 'The New Mediterranean Culture': A Text and its Contexts (Modern French Identities)
20 chapter 1 Once this had been done, a study of ‘all the facts’ about the social context could be undertaken, with this serving, if necessary, as the ultimate criterion for deciding between incompatible interpretations. This early and decidedly abstract formulation of Skinner’s approach raised the obvious question of how it could be applied in practice. 33 What Skinner offered, in short, was an ideal programme rather than a practical methodology. In The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (1978), Skinner dropped the term ‘linguistic context’ in favour of what he now called the ‘ideological’ and ‘intellectual’ contexts.
28 Towards a Multi-Contextualist Approach 19 Skinner’s Approach I shall now examine Skinner’s approach more closely. The first point that needs to be made here is that Skinner’s practice often departs from his theoretical pronouncements, many of which were originally made in a polemical context. In the original version of his seminal 1969 article ‘Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas’,30 for example, Skinner mounted a scathing attack on orthodox approaches to the history of ideas, accusing them of imposing a false coherence on their subject-matter, whether they focused on ideas in themselves or the thought of individual thinkers.
Although he conceded that a knowledge of the social context of texts was essential, Skinner argued for a third approach, which focused on what he emphatically described as ‘the linguistic context’. This he defined as ‘the whole range of communications which could have been conventionally performed on the given occasion by the utterance of the given utterance’ (M&C, 63–64; cf. RM, 87). The key to interpretation was to establish the relationship between the utterance and this broader linguistic context.
Albert Camus's 'The New Mediterranean Culture': A Text and its Contexts (Modern French Identities) by Neil Foxlee