Online Class: A ZOOM invitation link will be sent one day before class begins.
Two Brave and Honest Voices: George Orwell and Albert Camus
In this class we will discuss the writing, ideas, and politics of two genuinely towering figures of the 20th century. George Orwell (1903-1950) of England is best known for his last novel, 1984, but his writings and activism encompassed many themes: democratic socialism versus Soviet Communism, the use and abuse of language in politics, the class system, the value of the natural world, and the dangers of colonialism. Albert Camus (1913-1960) of France is often considered an existentialist philosopher, a label he denied. Camus was preeminently the voice of morality at a time when morality was in short supply. He too grappled with issues of colonialism (in particular, his native Algeria), Soviet Communism, and the dangers of nihilism. Grappling with his concept of the absurd, Camus’s novel The Plague can be read as a plea for human solidarity. Both men died prematurely, but left their powerful mark on the literature, politics, and philosophy of our time. Join us as we discuss these authors’ contributions to our attempts to come to grips with the crises of today.
Gene Homel has taught history and politics since 1973 at universities and colleges in Ontario and British Columbia. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, and has written and presented extensively on history and culture.