In chapter 3 of his essay The Myth of Sisyphus / Le Mythe de Sisyphe, Camus discusses how several philosophers who have dealt with what he calls the absurd. One of these is Kierkegaard, of whom he writes,

«Dans son échec, dit Kierkegaard, le croyant trouve son triomphe.»


“In his failure, says Kierkegaard, the believer finds his triumph.”

I have not been able to find the source of this quote on the English Wikiquote site or the French Wikiquote site. It is also possible that Camus did not quote Kierkegaard literally, in spite of the quote marks; see for example this question on a quote that Camus attributed to Hegel.

Does anybody know the source of this “quote”?

1 Answer 1


I found a couple of quotes from Kierkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death which are sort of similar to the view cited by Camus:

  • The believer perceives, and understands, humanly speaking, his destruction (in what has befallen him and in what he has ventured), but he believes. Therefore he does not succumb. He leaves it wholly to God how he is to be helped, but he believes that for God all things are possible. To believe in his own destruction is impossible. To understand that, humanly, it is his own destruction, and then nevertheless to believe in the possibility, is what is meant by faith.

    In context, this is about how a believer may trust in God to provide the possibility of salvation even when he is facing impending destruction. Faith is said to be the ability to believe in that possibility. I don't think this is likely to be what Camus was referring to, but it's possible to interpret Camus as talking about Kierkegaard's belief that failure (destruction) is where faith is most strongly found (triumph).

  • But now for Christianity! Yea, he who defends it has never believed in it. If he believes, then the enthusiasm of faith is . . . not defense, no, it is attack and victory. The believer is a victor.

    This, I think, is more likely to be what Camus meant. Kierkegaard is here arguing that "To defend anything is always to discredit it" - thus, a believer who appears to be in failure (by failing to defend his own religion) has found triumph (to be a "victor").

Maybe someone will find something that fits even better. But these seem close enough to be possibly what Camus was referring to, albeit not exactly matching the "quote" in The Myth of Sisyphus.

  • On the page that contains the quote, Camus discusses how Kierkegaard essentially wants us to abandon the intellect and embrace faith. Camus doesn't like this because it comes down to closing your eyes to the issue of the absurd instead of facing it. Does the context of the second quote say anything about intellect versus faith?
    – Tsundoku
    Jun 26, 2020 at 20:54

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