On Freedom and Revolt is a heartfelt, motivational, and intellectual comparison of the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Camus.
Carl E. Moyler’s satisfying comparative literature book On Freedom and Revolt concerns the work of Albert Camus and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tracing the lives and ideas of Camus and King, the book compares and contrasts their thoughtful work on freedom and revolt. King is explored most through his speeches and letters; Camus’s body of work, including his work regarding the definition of a rebel, is also analyzed and observed to argue that, for him, a true artist is one who revolts against any inequality. Moyler treats both of the men’s work with depth, and persuasive arguments come out of his scholarly presentations of each.
This comparative literature-inflected analysis recognizes the men’s differences, too, including that Camus was either agnostic or an atheist, while King was a Baptist minister for whom religion was at the fore of each of his arguments for justice. It argues that their differences were not as stark as they seem, though: in both of the men’s worldviews, injustice had to be eradicated; both men dedicated their lives to this aim.
The book’s methodology is precise and engaging, approaching events like the men’s Nobel Prize acceptance speeches in order to compare their language with care. Such treatments are powerful, helping to demonstrate the uncanny connections between the men’s major life events. They swell with emotion and inspiration in their themes, too.
Thorough research and analysis is used to illustrate the book’s sense the men lived parallel lives, each proving essential to fights against injustice, in whichever forms they took. Their individual ideas about how revolts for freedom worked are broken into parts—here forwarded to the audience in order to inspire the generations that followed them. However, all of the book’s sources are from the last century; the book excludes the last two decades of thought on its subjects.
Still, the book is a clear and original synthesis of King and Camus’s work. It highlights the importance of their contributions in regards to inequality in language that is thoughtful and careful. Its organization is straightforward, and it defines its terms well. The end result is an able tool, useful both as a reference and for facilitating further research.
Forwarding the important message that inequality must be combated, On Freedom and Revolt, an intellectual comparison of the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Camus, is a heartfelt, motivational text.
Paige Van De Winkle
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