In his first novel, A Happy Death, written when he was in his early twenties and retrieved from his private papers following his death in I960, Albert Camus laid the foundation for The Stranger, focusing in both works on an Algerian clerk who kills a man in cold blood. But he also revealed himself to an extent that he never would in his later fiction. For if A Happy Death is the study of a rule-bound being shattering the fetters of his existence, it is also a remarkably candid portrait of its author as a young man.
As the novel follows the protagonist, Patrice Mersault, to his victim’s house — and then, fleeing, in a journey that takes him through stages of exile, hedonism, privation, and death -it gives us a glimpse into the imagination of one of the great writers of the twentieth century. For here is the young Camus himself, in love with the sea and sun, enraptured by women yet disdainful of romantic love, and already formulating the philosophy of action and moral responsibility that would make him central to the thought of our time.
Translated from the French by Richard Howard
The introduction of Greek philosophy into the Muslim world left an indelible mark on Islamic intellectual history. Philosophical discourse became a constant element in even traditionalist Islamic sciences. However, Aristotelian metaphysics gave rise to doctrines about God and the universe that were found highly objectionable by a number of Muslim theologians, among whom the fourteenth-century scholar Ibn Taymiyya stood foremost. Ibn Taymiyya, one of the greatest and most prolific thinkers in medieval Islam, held Greek logic responsible for the `heretical’ metaphysical conclusions reached by Islamic philosophers, theologians, mystics, and others. He therefore set out to refute philosophical logic, a task which culminated in one of the most devastating attacks ever levelled against the logical system upheld by the early Greeks, the later commentators, and their Muslim followers. His argument is grounded in an empirical approach that in many respects prefigures the philosophies of the British empiricists. Professor Hallaq’s translation, with a substantial introduction and extensive notes, makes this important work available to a wider audience for the first time.
‘It is to the credit of Professor Wael B. Hallaq … to have provided the English-speaking public with such a competent and readable translation of a key text of Islamic civilization. That the work carries the insignia of Clarendon Press,
Oxford is a further testimony of its enduring value. Apart from students of Muslim thought, specialists in philosophies and historians of logic are sure to benefit from this sterling effort. Indeed, it should prove to be of equal interest to all the critics, Muslims or otherwise, of modern science.’ S. Parvez Manzoor, Muslim World Book Review 15, no. 2, 1995
`Hallaq has performed a valuable service in carrying out this translation…he has produced a clear, judicious and attractive version…This is in every way an excellent book. Hallaq has written what will surely be the standard work in the area for some time to come.’ Bulletin of the
Oriental and African Studies.
`A major survey of Ibn Taymiyyah and logic … Hallaq’a volume is the ideal introduction to the whole field of Ibn Taymiyyah, logic and the philosophers … a fluent, scholarly and well-organised translation … a fresh and attractive addition to the growing corpus of literature on Islamic logic and its complexities.’ Journal of Semitic Studies
`This work, Professor Hallaq’s most recent, is almost unique to modern studies of Ibn Taymiyah and for this readon deserves our attention. Hallaq has proved an enormously capable writer in his field. … His profound grasp of the discussions in medieval Arabic works on logic is evident here and in that regard it is an important book.’ Mamluk Studies Review, 1, 1997