Create Dangerously ★★★☆☆

Create Dangerously ★★★☆☆
Albert Camus


Genre(s) | Nonfiction, Speeches, Art
Goodreads Rating | 3.81
Humpo Show Rating | 3.00 
Published: 2018
Publisher: Penguin Modern

To create today is to create dangerously’

Camus argues passionately that the artist has a responsibility to challenge, provoke and speak up for those who cannot in this powerful speech, accompanied here by two others. 

This short work consists of three speeches: Create Dangerously, delivered in 1957 at the University of Uppsala, a few days after Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature; Bread and Freedom to the Labour Exchange of Saint-Etienne in 1953; and Defence of Intelligence at a meeting organised by L’Amitie Francaise in 1945.

Albert Camus was a French philosopher, author and journalist, famous for his novel The Stranger which reflected some of his absurdism views. He has had several novels published as well as short stories, nonfiction books, plays and essays.

This collection of speeches that discuss art, liberty and responsibility in post-war Europe are exquisitely articulated and provokes plenty of thinking and debating. Having read this during a week where Professor Stephen Hawking passed away, makes me wonder that this is perhaps the philosophical equivalent of Hawking’s A Brief History in Time, but in relation to art and the creator’s motive, obligation and constraints.

Camus discusses what is in the mind of creators, like artists and writers, and their approach to conveying their work, the reason for why they create, and the position it sits in terms of liberty. He moves on from this point in another essay where he speaks about the true meaning of freedom, and the concept that we are, and are not free.

To be honest I struggled with this collection of speeches from Camus. My eyes glazed over plenty sentences which seemed to go on forever, and talk endlessly about a certain meaning or concept. This would be gold dust to an Arts student at a university, but for a reader that is picking it up as a passing interest, it was a difficult read. 

4 thoughts on “Create Dangerously ★★★☆☆

  1. Great review! This confirms my suspicions that I will probably struggle with this one when I get to it… but I presumed I would anyway because I tried and then promptly steered clear of Camus during my critical theory course at university! I’m still super intrigued to read this though and to see what he has to say about creation and obligation to create. 🙂

    • I’d be tempted to read a novel of his- but I won’t be reading his nonfiction any time soon. I can imagine a lot of the Penguin moderns being useful for uni, as they are very thought provoking and philosophical.

  2. Hawking’s A Brief History in Time is for the masses. The depth of Camus’ concepts are way more difficult for a person to understand, I think. Have you read The Myth of Sisyphus or the Fastidious Assassins? I think you would enjoy these more.

    • I’ve not read them- thanks for the suggestions! I think I would have to read Camus a few times to understand his thoughts. It’s nice to hear that A Brief History in Time is for the masses, as I’d like to read that one day!

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