Skip to main content

Ruth Salter publishes paper on Flamenco’s ‘absurd passion’

Ruth Salter, a lecturer in the English department, published the article, “Absurd Passion: Camusian Freedom and Revolt in Cante Flamenco,” in The International Journal of Arts Theory and History.

Gypsies (“flamencos”), who have lived in southern Spain for more 600 years, enduring oppression and discrimination, voice their culture in the flamenco song tradition, with its recurring expressions of rebellion, persistence and independence.

Salter’s paper explores how these lyrical themes dovetail with Albert Camus’ theory of the absurd, which he defines as the conflict between humanity’s search for meaningful order in life and the fundamental irrationality of the universe. For him, the only defensible responses to absurdity are revolt, passion and freedom. Salter proposes that traditional flamenco lyrics, as a potent expression of perseverance and courage, are a powerful articulation of a Camusian outlook on life.