Camus’ “La Chute”: Profoundly Christian

La Chute is not a caricature, but a probing of man’s nature as known to Camus through his own experience: Clamence is certainly not Camus, but is the arrangement of mirrors through which Camus inspects that experience and causes it to be reflected. Nor can the specifically Christian, or pre-Christian elements in La Chute–so clearly signalled both in the title and in the name of the narrator-protagonist–be glossed over. Under its surface of irony, and occasional blasphemy, La Chute is profoundly Christian in its confessional form, in its imagery and above all in its pervasive message that it is only through the full recognition of our sinful nature that we can hope for grace. Grace does not, it is true, arrive and the novel ends on what is apparently a pessimistic note. Yet the name of the narrator*–that of the fore-runner–hints, however teasingly, at the possibility of a sequel.

Conor Cruise O’Brien, Camus Fontana Modern Masters (London: Fontana/Collins, 1970), 81.

The narrator’s name is Jean-Baptiste Clamence.


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