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 greatly alternative ways: whereas a few critics have pushed aside it as an incoherent piece of juvenilia, others see it as key to figuring out his destiny improvement as a philosopher, even if because the first expression of his so-called ‘Mediterranean humanism’ or as an early indication of what's obvious as his primarily colonial mentality.
These a variety of interpretations are in keeping with analyzing the textual content of ‘The New Mediterranean Culture’ in one context, no matter 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). in contrast, this examine argues that Camus’s lecture - and in precept any ancient textual content - should be noticeable in a multiplicity of contexts, discursive and in a different way, if readers are to appreciate thoroughly what its writer used to be doing in writing it. utilizing Camus’s lecture as a case research, the publication offers an in depth theoretical and functional justification of this ‘multi-contextualist’ method.
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Extra info for Albert Camus's 'The New Mediterranean Culture': A Text and its Contexts (Modern French Identities)
That is why our opponents are mistaken in all their objections. One does not have the right to pre-judge the fate of a doctrine, and to judge our future in the name of the past, even if it is that of Russia. Our task in this very place is to rehabilitate the Mediterranean, to take it back from those who unjustly lay claim to it, and to make it ready to receive the economic forms that await it. It is to discover what is concrete and alive in it, and, at every opportunity, to encourage the diverse aspects of this culture.
Towards a Multi-Contextualist Approach 27 endorsing Skinner’s assertion that ‘there can be no histories of concepts as such; there can only be histories of their uses in argument’ (M&C, 283). In addition, Pocock argued for the logical priority of his own approach over Koselleck’s: according to Pocock, the history of concepts needed to be seen as part of ‘an ongoing history of discourses arranged [sc. 41 In reply, however, Koselleck suggested that the history of discourses and the history of concepts were interdependent: Although basic concepts always function within a discourse, they are pivots around which all arguments turn.
Said, Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient (London: Penguin, 1985 ). 26. 125. 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.