Critical Praise for Dr. Bowker’s Recent Books

Two recent books authored by Dr. Matt Bowker (Visiting Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts and Communication) on the political theory of absurdity and postmodern ethics have received rave reviews in several academic journals. Here are two excerpts.

From the journal French Studies, by Mark Orme, U. of Central Lancashire:

“Following his birth centenary in 2013, Albert Camus continues to attract renewed scholarly interest, and Matthew H. Bowker’s rigorously researched volume [Rethinking the Politics of Absurdity: Albert Camus, Postmodernity, and the Survival of Innocence] provides a welcome contribution to the ongoing debate surrounding this author and his work. Bowker aims to offer ‘a radical reinterpretation of absurdity’ (p. xv) and, with reference to political philosophy, literary criticism, and psychoanalytic psychology, attempts to comprehend the absurd condition, which, he contends, is a type of experience ‘designed to resist comprehension’ (p. xvi). These are bold objectives, given the plethora of research—not least in Camus studies — that already exists in the field of absurdity. Yet Bowker’s approach is refreshingly different: viewed as a metaphor for psychological understanding, absurdity becomes a vehicle through which enlightenment can be achieved, where meaning is sacrificed in exchange for the survival of innocence… Throughout, Bowker is an engaging and well-informed guide, anchoring his arguments in the context of both old and new scholarship and with clear signposting to help orient the reader… Ultimately, it is the aim of this thoughtfully written work (which includes a full index and bibliography) to ‘make absurdity meaningful’ through a process of rethinking; by the end, the reader is left in no doubt that such a laudable objective has been achieved. The book can be highly recommended to both the specialist and non-specialist reader, who will doubtless discover that a topic which was thought to have been researched to its limits still has many intellectual surprises in store.”

From the Journal of Camus Studies (forthcoming), by Peter Francev, President, Albert Camus Society (US), Mount San Antonio College:

“Matthew H. Bowker’s study, Albert Camus and the Political Philosophy of the Absurd: Ambivalence, Resistance, and Creativity, is arguably the most insightful, thoughtful, and well-researched book on Camus studies to appear in recent years. From the beginning, Bowker states that it is his ‘hope to show that Albert Camus’ concept of absurdity is best understood when decoupled from what might be called its ontological aspirations’, and rather than focus on debating as to Camus’s specific political leanings, he chooses to define ‘the particular psychological disposition of absurdity by analogizing it with the constructs of ambivalence, integration, conscious resistance, and creativity’. The end result is simply a study of Camus’s thought that the scholars have never before entertained… Every once-in-a-great-while there comes a book that is so engaging, so thorough, and so enjoyable to read and comprehend that it becomes a classic and a necessity for all academics in that particular field to own, study, and know. Bowker’s Albert Camus and the Political Philosophy of the Absurd is that book. There is no doubt that it will indelibly shift and change the foci of Camus’s political thought in addition to offering a fantastic and clarified understanding of the Absurd. Without reservation, every serious scholar of Camus studies needs to have this book in his or her library. It is invaluable.”

You can learn more about these books here:

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