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Albert Camus

Biography

Albert Camus was born in 1913 in Mondovi near Bône (now Annaba) in eastern Algeria. His father was in the wine trade but was killed in World War I in 1914, so his son never knew him. Camus and his brother were bought up in relative poverty in the Belcourt district of Algiers. He was a keen football player and played for the University of Algiers team (in goal) which he attended. However, a bout of tuberculosis ended his football career. In 1934 he joined the Communist Party because of the situation in Spain and married Simone Hie (they would later divorce) and graduated from the University the following year. Initially, he was involved in theatre and worked as a journalist and he always said that the theatre was his preferred medium. His first work was a theatrical production (Révolte dans les Asturies [Revolt in Asturias]), written with three others. Though it was published, the Mayor of Algiers banned its performance.

Because of his health, he could not serve in the army during the war. He married again in 1940 and published L’Etranger (UK: The Outsider; US: The Stranger) in 1942. During the war, he served in the resistance in Paris and worked for the underground newspaper Combat where he met Sartre. He stayed in Paris after the war and though he was a friend of Sartre, he alienated him with his strong criticism of communism. His publication of L’Homme révolté (The Rebel) led to a final break with Sartre. He continued to publish essays, drama and the occasional novel, and to take a strong left-wing, anti-communist stand, criticizing the Soviet Union. During the Algerian War, he took an ambiguous attitude, not least because his mother was still living there. In 1957, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was killed in a car crash in 1960.

He will, of course, be remembered for his two major novels, for his association with existentialism and for being one of the French left-wing intellectuals, who took strong stands on many issues in the post-war period. However, it may well be that his essays are equally as important, both in translating existentialism into something more readable than its main philosophical proponents had produced as well as for propounding a philosophy on how humans need to deal with life with all its absurdities, randomness and ultimate meaninglessness.

Books about Albert Camus

Elizabeth Hawes: Camus, A Romance
Herbert R. Lottman: Albert Camus: A Biography
Patrick McCarthy: Camus
Olivier Todd: Albert Camus: A Life

Other links

Albert Camus
Albert Camus
Albert Camus
Albert Camus
Albert Camus
Albert Camus – Biography
Albert Camus: A Pure Rebel
Albert Camus: thinker, goalkeeper
Albert Camus, the outsider, is still dividing opinion in Algeria 50 years after his death
The Rebel
Accidental Friends (on the Camus-Sartre break-up)
Albert Camus Society UK
Albert Camus (1913-1960)
Albert Camus (1913-1960)
Truth Is Fiction: Smoking With Camus (interview with his daughter)
Solitaire et solidaire (interview with his daughter – despite the title, it’s in English)
Albert Camus (photos)
The Albert Camus Society UK
Albert Camus (in French)
Le Web Camus (in French)
Albert Camus (1913-1960) (in French)
La vie d’Albert Camus (in French)
Albert Camus et son temps (in French)
Albert Camus, ou l’inconscient colonial (in French)
4 janvier 1960/Mort d’Albert Camus (in French)
FAQ Camus (in French)
Biographie d’Antoine d’Albert Camus (in French)
Société des Études camusiennes (in French)

Bibliography

1936 Révolte dans les Asturies (drama – with Alfred Poignant, Yves Bourgeois, Jeanne Sicard)
1937 L’Envers et l’endroit (Betwixt and Between; The Wrong Side and the Right Side) (essay)
1939 Noces (Nuptials) (essay)
1942 L’Etranger (UK: The Outsider; US: The Stranger) (novel)
1942 Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus) (essay)
1944 Le Malentendu suivi de Caligula (Caligula and Cross Purpose) (drama)
1945 Lettres à un ami allemand (Letters to a German Friend) (essays)
1946 Ni victimes ni bourreaux (Neither Victims Nor Executioners) (essays)
1947 La Peste (The Plague) (novel)
1948 L’Etat de siège (State of Siege) (drama)
1950 Actuelles: Chroniques 1944-1948 (some of the essays appear in Resistance, Rebellion and Death) (essays)
1950 Les Justes (The Just Assassins; The Just) (drama)
1951 L’Homme révolté (The Rebel) (essay)
1952 Actuelles II: Chroniques 1948-1953 (some of the essays appear in Resistance, Rebellion and Death) (essays)
1953 Les Esprits (drama)
1954 L’Eté (Summer) (essay)
1956 La Chute (The Fall) (novel)
1957 L’Exil et le royaume (Exile and the Kingdom) (short stories)
1957 Reflexions sur la peine capitale (partially translated as Reflections on the Guillotine: An Essay on Capital Punishment) (with Arthur Koestler – essay)
1958 Actuelles III: Chronique algérienne, 1939-1958 (some of the essays appear in Resistance, Rebellion and Death) (essay)
1958 Discours de Suède (Speech of Acceptance upon the Award of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Delivered in Stockholm on the Tenth of December, 1957)
1961 Méditations sur le théâtre et la vie (essays)
1962 Théâtre, récits, nouvelles
1962 Carnets: mai 1935-février 1942 (US: Notebooks: Volume I, 1935-1942; UK: Carnets: 1935-1942)
1963 Collected Fiction
1963 Lettre à Bernanos
1964 Carnets: janvier 1942-mars 1951 (Notebooks: 1942-1951)
1965 Essais
1965 Lyrical and Critical Essays
1965 Pages méditerranéennes
1971 La Mort heureuse (A Happy Death)
1973 Le Premier Camus, suivi de Ecrits de jeunesse d’Albert Camus (Youthful Writings)
1978 Fragments d’un combat: 1938-1940, Alger Républicain, Le Soir Républicain
1978 Journaux de voyage (American Journals)
1981 Selected Political Writings
1984 Caligula, version de 1941, suivi de La Poétique du premier Caligula
1989 Carnets III, mars 1951-décembre 1959 (Notebooks 1951-1959)
1994 Le Premier homme (The First Man) (novel)
2002 Réflexions sur le terrorisme
2009 La Postérité du soleil