"From Shestov to Camus: Benjamin Fondan and Rachel Bespaloff" report by Alexey Makushinsky
On March 1 and 13, 2019, within the framework of the seminar "East and West: Universalism of Culture", there were held two lectures by the writer Alexey Makushinsky
A. Makushinsky presented his own interpretation of the fate and work of the Russian existentialist philosopher L. Shestov and his students: the Ukrainian-French philosopher Rachel Bespaloff and the French writer Benjamin Fondan.
In the life of Lev Shestov (1866-1938) there were two people who considered themselves and whom, with some reservations, he considered as his students. These people were Benjamin Fondan (1898-1944) and Rachel Bespaloff (1895-1949). The fate of both was tragic - Fondan died at Auschwitz, Bespaloff committed suicide. The last texts of both, in whole or in part, were devoted to Albert Camus (1913-1960) who, in his turn, refered to both Shestov and Bespaloff in his "Myth of Sisyphus" . The criticism of Shestov by Bespaloff anticipates the criticism of Shestov by Albert Camus, and vice versa, the criticism of Camus by Fondan comes about as if on behalf of Lev Shestov. The report is dedicated to clarification of these biographical and philosophical links.
Alexey Makushinsky is a writer, an author of four novels, two books of poetry and an essay book. The first prize of the "Russian Premium" for the novel "Steamship to Argentina", the short list of the "Big Book Award" for the same novel, the short list of the Prize of A. Pyatigorsky for the novel "City in the Valley", a long list of awards "Yasnaya Polyana" and "The Big Book" for the novel "Stopped World". Associate Professor, Department of Slavic Studies, University of Mainz (Germany).