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 neighborhood arts centre, in Algiers. Entitled ‘La nouvelle tradition méditerranéenne’ (‘The New Mediterranean Culture’), Camus’s lecture has been interpreted in greatly other ways: whereas a few critics have pushed aside it as an incoherent piece of juvenilia, others see it as key to knowing 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 line with analyzing the textual content of ‘The New Mediterranean Culture’ in one context, no matter if that of Camus’s existence and paintings as an entire, 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 historic textual content - has to be obvious in a multiplicity of contexts, discursive and in a different way, if readers are to appreciate correctly what its writer was once doing in writing it. utilizing Camus’s lecture as a case research, the e-book presents an in depth theoretical and useful justification of this ‘multi-contextualist’ technique.
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Additional info for Albert Camus's 'The New Mediterranean Culture': A Text and its Contexts (Modern French Identities)
Obvious examples here would include ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’ and ‘justice’, or outside politics, ‘art’. The most commonly accepted general definition of ‘democracy’, for example, is ‘rule by the people’, but who ‘the people’ are and how their ‘rule’ is exercised in practice has varied considerably from time to time and place to place. In ancient Athens, where the concept originated, ‘democracy’ was exercised directly, rather than through representatives, with the electorate being restricted to adult males who were full citizens, defined as those whose parents were both themselves Athenian: immigrants, slaves and women were excluded.
84. Cf. the conclusion of ‘Motives, Intentions and Interpretation’: ‘We need, in short, to be ready to take as our province nothing less than the whole of what Cornelius Castoriadis has described as the social imaginary, the complete range of the inherited symbols and representations that constitute the subjectivity of an age’ (RM, 102). Towards a Multi-Contextualist Approach 21 As in ‘Meaning and Understanding’, however, Skinner rejected crude social contextualism, arguing that the ‘intellectual context’ of the major texts also needed to be studied: ‘the context of earlier writings and inherited assumptions about political society, and of more ephemeral contemporary contributions to social and political thought’ (Preface, p.
Towards a Multi-Contextualist Approach 23 Refining Skinner’s Approach In an article published three years before the Foundations, but not included in either Meaning and Context or Regarding Method, Skinner explicitly acknowledged the logical priority of textual over contextual interpretation. In so doing, he identified a contextualist version of the hermeneutic circle, according to which we understand the meaning of a text as a whole by understanding the meaning of its parts, and the meaning of those parts in relation to the whole.