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Mon admiration pour mes héros, Kaliayev et Dora, est entière. J’ai seulement voulu montrer que l’action elle-même avait des limites. Il n’est de bonne et de juste action que celle qui reconnaît ces limites et qui, s’il lui faut les franchir, accept au moins la mort. Notre monde nous montre aujourd’hui une face répugnante, justement parce qu’il est fabriqué des hommes qui s’accordent le droit de franchir ces limites, et d’abord de tuer les autres, sans mourir eux-mêmes. C’est ainsi que la justice aujourd’hui sert d’alibi, partout dans le monde, aux assassins de toute justice.
My admiration for my heroes, Kaliayev and Dora, is complete. I just wanted to demonstrate that action itself has limits. There is no good and just action but that which knows those limits and, if it must cross beyond them, does at least accept death. Today our world shows us a repugnant face, simply because it is made by men who accord themselves the right to transgress these limits, including the right to kill others, without dying themselves. This is how law enforcement today provides cover throughout the world to the assassins of real justice.
–Albert Camus, “Préface à l’édition américaine du théâtre,” in: Théâtre récits nouvelles p. 1733 (R. Quilliot ed. 1962)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”