Camus and the Myth of Sisyphus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The purpose of this chapter is to investigate how Albert Camus gives meaning to just one myth, that of Sisyphus. The chapter explores the Greek and Roman texts and their interpreters which helped Camus to arrive at the 'zero point' of The Myth of Sisyphus. It shows how Camus' beliefs about the human condition determine his parsing and interpretation of the myth's elements. His handling of Sisyphus has given rise to charges of both philosophical obtuseness and 'unmythical' and 'ahistorical' allegorizing. In order to evaluate both criticisms, the chapter shows that the matrix of meaning Camus constructs around Sisyphus evolves through critical interaction with classical texts and their scholarly, philosophical, and poetic reception. Camus' highly systematic literary project, which was cut short by his accidental death in 1959, means that the significance of Sisyphus ramifies across his works.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Handbook to the Reception of Classical Mythology
EditorsVanda Zajko, Helena Hoyle
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781119072034
ISBN (Print)9781444339604
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2017

Publication series

NameWiley Blackwell Handbooks to Classical Reception

Structured keywords

  • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition


  • Camus
  • Sisyphus
  • Reception
  • Mythology
  • Myth
  • continental philosophy
  • ethics

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