Title: THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS and Other Essays >>...
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton, London
Publication Date: 1955
Book Condition: Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good
169, [3,blanks] printed pages. Royal College of Art Library 1955 bookplate with greek key pattern borders (there was a new design each year), manually "withdrawn" with date stamp, on front free paste-down endpaper. RCAL embossed discreetly at foot of title-page (also manually "withdrawn" with date stamp). Edges and endpapers slightly grubby with handling. Rear hinge split but firm. 15 x 22 cm. Original blue cloth, with silver lettering on spine. Corners very slightly worn, covers and top of spine a little stained. Hinges slightly worn and a trifle split, but firm. In original printed dustwrapper with greek key pattern borders and red and black sans serif font. Small tears at foot of upper wrapper and top and bottom of spine; generally good condition. Precedes the American edition. With translation into English by Justin O'Brien. Initially issued in the 1942 French edition, Le Mythe of Sisyphe. Awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature, Camus was the spokesman of his own generation whose insistence on placing individual moral responsibility at the heart of all public choices cut sharply across the comfortable habits of the age. This copy became quickly worn out in its first two years by RCA students and was withdrawn in 1957. Provenance: George Freeman (1931-2019, former president of the Society of Industrial Artists & founder of George Freeman Design Consultants London) who, after the Northern Polytechnic & Central School of Arts and Crafts had various jobs in exhibition design but met Sir Hugh Casson who encouraged him to apply to the Royal College of Art (where Casson and his wife, Margaret, were running the interior design school). The Royal College of Art remains a foundation stone of the British arts; prominent alumni of the Royal College of Art include Frank Auerbach, Peter Blake, and Henry Moore. Len Deighton and Raymond Hawkey were contemporaries at the Royal College of Art in the 1950s & contributors to The Ark; Hawkey was employed to design the jacket for Deighton's debut, The Ipcress File, at Deighton's request, and Deighton was a designer himself before he found success as a writer, creating covers for UK editions of Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1956) and a 1960 Penguin cover for Iris Murdoch's Under the Net, among others. Basil Taylor may have withdrawn the book from the library. Taylor, lecturer at the RCA from the early 1950s, became the first college Librarian in 1953 then, in 1958, founded the School of General Studies (which, at the time, included George Steiner and Iris Murdoch on the faculty) & was considered a cultural guru at the time (linking the Fathers of Pop Art , Lawrence Alloway, Reyner Banham, Richard Hamilton, and Eduardo Paolozzi with the younger generation, David Hockney, Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips & Patrick Caulfield). During the post-war era, Art and literature were bound together by Existentialism, the dominant philosophy of individual freedom and moral responsibility. Camus The Myth of Sisyphus & other essays that includes The Artist and His Time (1955) was a key text in shaping the climate of the artistic period. The School of London, that included Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff (students at the Royal College of Art in 1955), Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud (both associated with the RCA through friendships with staff), all portrayed existentialist themes. The violent and contorted figures found in the paintings of Francis Bacon bleakly depicted the existential anguish of the individual. Frank Auerbach's works like Head of E.O.W. (1961), express his struggle with the materiality of paint and an attempt to find meaning and order in the chaos of existence. It would be fascinating to know exactly who read this copy. Bookseller Inventory # 4411