Playwrights > Athol Fugard discussion

Camus, Sartre and Fugard



Camus' influence on Fugard is already well-documented. There is a dissertation written on this topic for the late Al Wertheim (his book also discusses this influence at length). I believe there was also a dissertation written at NYU on the relationship of Camus' Algerian writings on Fugard's political orientation as a self-identified Afrikaner as well. One would have to be more cautious about attributing the same level of influence to Sartre, however.

All best,


Hi! The site is really useful! I'm a Cambridge student studying Fugard's Island and the site provides some great information. I wondered if I'd be able to read the phd mentioned above? Thanks! Emma.

Iain Fisher:
I agree about the influence of Camus on Fugard.

There are some obvious direct influences.  Fugard directed Camus´ play The Just, and his own version of Orestes has some similarities, in terms of plot, with the terrorists in The Just.  And Fugard´s underrated play Dimetos was based on a paragraph from Camus´ Notebooks.

In Dennis Walder´s book on Fugard (the 2003 book- he has two books on Fugard) he quotes Camus “I must bear witness.  When I see things clearly, I have only one thing to say.  It is this life of poverty, among the vain or humble people, that I have most certainly touched what I feel is the true meaning of life”.  That could easily apply to Fugard.

Fugard´s Notebooks mention The Outsider (”the paradox of starting to live when life is over” and The Rebel (“The further I get into it the more light does it bring into those dark and obscure corners of my thinking”).
Generally I have the feeling Fugard was heavily influenced by the novels and non-fiction but less so by Camus´ plays.  Camus is a novelist who has done some interesting but not great plays.

What do you think?


Hi Everybody (anybody?)
I am getting towards the end of a doctoral thesis on existentialism in Athol's work. (In Paris) Would you accept Sartre's and Camus' influence in Fugard's work? What about the idea "man is condemned to be free" ie no god, no fate, just you create your own destiny during the apartheid years in South Africa; based on Fugard's work?


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