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Camus & Char,
a fruitful literary friendship

Camus & Char, a successful literary friendshipCamus & Char, a successful literary friendship
Camus & Char, a large and beautiful literary friendship

Upon giving his Nobel Prize, Camus said in a press conference:

"Our greatest French poet to me, I mean René Char, which for me is not only a poet, a great poet and a writer of immense talent, but which for me as a brother. [...] Since Apollinaire [...] there was no literature in the French revolution comparable to that René Char has accomplished. "

The friendship between Albert Camus and René Char is one of the most beautiful and successful of French literature.

Yet nothing seemed to destine the writer and journalist Algiers Provençal poet to meet, let alone appreciate. Camus knew nothing about poetry and Char had no taste for the novel, those of Maurice Blanchot apart.
Yet it is through their work that both artists discover and appreciate. So before Camus and Char meet Caligula and Hypnos, illustrating both the responsibility of the poet to violence in the world.

"In our darkness, there is no place for beauty. The whole place is for Beauty. "(Char, Hypnos Sheets).

It is this common requirement of Beauty as a political response to the excesses of ideology that unites the two artists at the end of the war.
Ferment of their friendship, the first "recognition" inaugurates a correspondence over twelve years which increases their mutual affection and reveal their artistic convergences:

"I believe that our fraternity - on all levels - goes even further and we envisage that we experience. "(Char Camus, November 3, 1951).

"What a great and profound thing to detach little by little of everything and everyone who deserve nothing and recognize gradually through the years and borders a family of spirits. As it feels much suddenly to finally be some ... "(Camus Char, February 26, 1950)

These "some" refers to the quote from Gide: "I believe in the virtue of the small number; the world will be saved by some "Char and Camus will attempt to bring together all based in the journal Empedocles:" It is perhaps time that a few of which meet Gide spoke "wrote Camus Guilloux in January 1949. They publish the writings of Gracq, Melville, Grenier, Guilloux, Blanchot, Ponge, Rilke, Kafka ... The internal dissensions will quickly because of the magazine, and together they will abandon the project.

Their friendship, it is no shade. The two men meet regularly in Provence, birthplace of Char and now, thanks to him, the country of adoption of Camus.
They share their manuscripts, confide their doubts: "The more I produce less I'm sure. On the way in which an artist works, night falls increasingly thick. Finally, he died blind. My only faith is the light dwells, within, and can not see her, and she still shines. But how to be sure. That is why we must rely on the friend, when he knows and understands, and he himself walking in step. "
They dedicate their works (the reissue of Hypnos Sheets and Current) and cater to each new copy dedications, each of which seal their brotherhood in arms and soul.

"René Char which helps to live, waiting for our kingdom, his friend and brother in hope. "(Manuscript of The Plague)


"For Albert Camus, one of the few men I admire and I love and whose work is honored this time. René Char "(Fury and Mystery)


"[A RENÉ CHAR], highway brother, this book on a joint trip to the time of men, waiting noon. Affectionately Albert Camus "(Current I)


"For Albert Camus, whose friendship and work are a presence that illuminates and strengthens the eyes" (Brief Art)


"Ah, if only the poets were willing to become what they once were: LEDs that tell us what is possible ... What do they give us a foretaste of future virtues. Nietzsche ".

"To you dear Rene, only poet of your time answering this call, from your faithful brother, AC" (Current II)

This communion reaches its climax at the exit of the Righteous and morning:
"The first copy of the morning paper on top and will be sent to you by me [...] To the extent that a book is written for anyone, it is for you that it is (written and Breathing). It is a rare face, affectionate and admired, as that thought and heart apply to the land of a book. This is yours. "
Camus responds with this dedication on the large paper of the Righteous "René Char, the first on the road of the sun, C [es Righteous] his morning waiting to be finally justified with the fraternal friendship of Albert Camus. "
Before this copy, Camus had already Char send a news service without dedication "to make you wait. The one I reserve awaits me in Paris and I can you dedicate to leisure. "

Camus had already sent a first copy Char Wedding, ode to his native country, originally published in 1939, well before their meeting: "In René Char, to bring us both the years I did not know but which already contained the reasons for our friendship. "
A second dedication on Wedding underlines this early work that celebrates "the marriage of the man with the world" is an early revelation of what they will name their "world of fraternity"
"René Char, these first Noces,

with the best heart.
Albert Camus ".

This copy sent to Wedding Char was probably sent in October 1953 with other "related" (the cardboard Prassinos - see letter of 23 October 1953), as this copy of the Righteous .
Written on that date, the dedication of this work Camus:
"René Char, brother of these,
he has the whole road
with admiration
and affection of his friend "
takes on a new dimension: latest installment of the cycle of revolt, The Righteous announces the great theoretical work of Camus, The Rebel, which earned him the wrath and enmity of the French intelligentsia, which Sartre. Camus is very deeply affected by the violent misunderstanding of his peers. René Char, confidant of the long maturation of the work, is one of the few to publicly defend "this great help book, as a pathetic and net trépanée head."

Shortly before the release of the book, Char finishing reading the manuscript, wrote a prophetic letter to his friend: "Having read and reread your Rebel, I sought and what that work of this kind - the most essential - was able to approach you and her in time? And no person work. [...] I admired how familiar height (that does not put you out of reach, and making you solidarity, exposes you every time) you have set for your thread reeling lightning and common sense. What a generous heart! [...] As it is wonderful to sink into the truth. "
It is this truth facing its own violence dealt Righteous which Camus devotes an entire chapter also of his essay.

About the Righteous, Char wrote in 1949: "a great work whose persistent heart has only begun to fight."
In 1951, he joined "in the big fight [started in The Rebel] the only arguments - valid actions for human benefit, its conservation in risk and in motion. "
By including in its dedication in these Righteous, of course Camus testifies his gratitude for their support but more emphasizes their common membership in the tiny community of "some". Like the letter he addressed to Char October 26, 1951, after the publication of The Rebel:

"You know, at least you're not alone in this quest. What you may know evil is how you need for those who love you and that without you, not be worth much more. I speak first for me who've never resigned to seeing life lose its meaning, and its blood. [...] We talk about the pain of living. But this is not true, it is the pain of not living to say. [...] Without you, without two or three people that I respect and cherish, thickness definitely miss things. Maybe I did not tell you this enough, [...]. There are so few true friendship opportunities as men today have become too modest sometimes. "

If Camus was holding tank "for our greatest living poet and Fury Mystery and French poetry that gave us more surprising since the Illuminations and Spirits" (Albert Camus, preface to the German edition of Poems by René Char, 1959 ) témoignange his literary respect, vowed Camus also and above all an unbreakable friendship, again demonstrated in this beautiful autograph Camus Char on The Betwixt and Between, written a few months before his sudden death in January 1960 :

"To you dear Rene, these confidences, and a friendship of the heart, fraternally. / Albert Camus. / June 59".

Posthumous response to this statement, Char publishes the death of Camus, The Offspring of the sun, their joint work written in 1952, a tribute to their friendship and "this hinterland that is like ours, invisible others ".

All the books incribed by Albert Camus on :

Albert Camus : signed books, incribed and manuscripts

For further
Emissions on France Culture

Friendship dangerous. Camus and Char versions sun

Posterity sun - correspondence between Albert Camus and René Char

Albert Camus and René Char, the two poets
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