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Re: [existlist] Camus - First Attempt at Marriage

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  • Susan Schnelbach
    Wow, what a disturbing early life. Thank you, Mary Jo.
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 27 9:08 PM
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      Wow, what a disturbing early life. Thank you, Mary Jo.

      On Tuesday, April 27, 2004, at 01:15 PM, Mary Jo wrote:

      > When Camus was 19 he moved out of his colorful and intellectually
      > stimulating Uncle Gustave's apartment, because Gustave wouldn't let
      > Albert bring home girls, especially Simone Hie, a particularly sexy
      > morphine addict. Her step-father declared she would become a whore as
      > she loved to parade the streets in high-heels, furs and sheer
      > clothing. Her mother was an ophthalmologist who gave her a morphine
      > injection for menstrual cramps. When her mother caught her forging
      > from her prescription pad, Simone sought out other doctors, with some
      > of whom she exchanged sexual favors for drugs. Camus knew this before
      > stealing her away from his friend Max-Pol Fouchet. Camus even tried
      > to prevent her from shooting up by weaning her gradually. Unbeknownst
      > to her, he obtained a "box of progressively diluted ampules" with
      > which to wean her. Camus got the morphine from a friend whose brother
      > was a pharmacist. It didn't work. When she strutted down the street,
      > Albert wanted to beat up the guys who looked at her in that special
      > way. Within the year he confessed to a friend that "love means
      > nothing." He was twenty and she a year younger when they decided to
      > wed, and they didn't promise fidelity to one another in case they
      > grew tired of one another's bodies. However these brave principles
      > couldn't immunize Camus from the constant jealousies that beset him
      > over his wife. Simone's mother, Dr. Soglin, rented an apartment for
      > them, and his reconciled relatives even gave them a little money to
      > get started in their new life together. All he wanted from his poor,
      > handicapped and illiterate mother for a wedding gift was a dozen
      > pairs of white socks. This was June 16, 1934.
      > Within their first year of marriage, and because Simone was still
      > hooked and had to be watched constantly (either at home with her
      > mother or at clinics), Camus stayed in Algiers and taught a remedial
      > philosophy class. She burst into Albert's class one day declaring he
      > left his slippers in the kitchen. He smiled at his female students
      > advising them never to marry. Another time when wedding church bells
      > chimed during a class he said, "Poor people, they don't know what
      > they're doing."
      > As their second year of marriage was about to begin, Albert was
      > preparing his graduate thesis, and he and Simone already had many
      > quarrels and breakups. She had left a clinic and gone to live with
      > her mother. His beloved cat, Moniou-Blanc died. "Moniou Blanc died
      > last night, and I found him in the morning all rigid lying in a
      > puddle of urine. They say he was poisoned, but they always say that
      > when an animal dies." Camus was determined to enjoy his few weeks off
      > where he found "A long walk in the hills with the sea below and the
      > delicate sun, wild roses growing on every bush, fat syrupy flowers
      > with purple petals. Returning home to the sweetness of friendship
      > with women, young women's sober and smiling faces . . . No false
      > notes."
      > After receiving his graduate diploma, he began to contemplate
      > obtaining an advanced teaching degree. But first he and an English
      > teacher friend, Yves Bourgeois planned a trip to Europe in order to
      > kayak from Innsbruck to Budapest. He took Simone along to keep her
      > from the morphine peddlers. The trip was a disaster, from his failed
      > health to disliking the French, the Austrians, the Czechs, and the
      > Germans - their food, their culture, their buildings, everything!
      > They didn't even stop to visit Milan when passing through on their
      > way to Marseilles. He told Bourgeois he was planning to leave Simone.
      > So while Simone and Yves kayaked into Prague and then into Germany,
      > Camus hiked, bussed, or took train alongside them. Earlier in
      > Salzburg when Camus went to the post office he read a letter to
      > Simone from an Algerian doctor and lover. He wrote his friends in
      > Algeria that this was a painful blow. He spent time in a hospital for
      > a necessary lung collapse treatment and many days alone in hotel
      > rooms. Simone even conned Bourgeois into giving her money for
      > an `abortion' which she certainly used for a fix. When they returned
      > to Algiers in early September Albert and Simone split, he to his
      > apartment, and she to her mother's.
      > All information taken from "Albert Camus: A Life" by Olivier Todd.
      > Mary Jo
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