How did the 20th century’s most glamorous intellectual friendship go wrong?
In the wake of Second World War, the French existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus were close friends. They drank and argued together, often spending long nights out on the town. All around them, Paris was being rebuilt. Through their writing, Sartre and Camus hoped to guide this new France toward a more equitable future. They became celebrities, their every movement reported in the newspapers. But it was not to last. In 1952 they fell out bitterly. The disagreement between Camus and Sartre became the philosophical feud of the century. Why did it happen? And how could two such close friends become such unforgiving enemies?
Camus versus Sartre is the first instalment of ‘Philosophy Feuds’, Aeon’s original series of short animations, each of which tells the story of a famous – or not so famous – spat, break-up, falling-out or fracas. More than just revealing the hilarious and all-too-human pettiness of the world’s greatest thinkers, ‘Philosophy Feuds’ is about the fascinating ideas behind each of these rifts – and how these ideas continue to matter today.
Read an accompanying Aeon Idea on the feud by Sam Dresser.