Albert Camus

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Albert Camus (November 7, 1913 - January 4, 1960) was an influential French philosopher, author, and journalist who is chiefly known for his work on existentialism. Some of his most famous works include The Stranger, The Plague, The Rebel, and The Myth of Sisyphus. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957. In Camus' atheistic view, human beings lack any purpose, and merely exist in a cold and hostile universe.

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Life

Camus was born in Mondovi, French Algeria on November 7, 1913, to Luciene Auguste and Catherine Marie Camus. Luciene Camus was killed in action at The Battle of the Marne in 1914, after which Albert's mother and older brother moved to Algiers to move in with relatives. There, Camus' mother worked in an ammunition plant and cleaned houses. While living in poverty, Camus was an excellent student and won a scholarship to the Grand Lycee, a prestigious high school.

After receiving his degree in philosophy from the University of Algiers in 1936, Camus became involved in the French Communist party. However, he gradually grew disillusioned and eventually was expelled, accused of being a "Trotskyite". Later on he was associated with anarchist organizations.

While a pacifist during the outbreak of World War II, once France was overrun by the Nazis, Camus joined the French Resistance, adopting the alias "Beauchard." He wrote for the underground newspaper Combat, and reported on the liberation of Paris in 1945.

After the war, Camus became associated with fellow French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, and adopted some existentialist themes into his work. However, the two eventually had a falling out, mostly because of Camus' criticisms of Communism, of which Sartre was a supporter. Due to this split, Camus refused to identify himself as an "existentialist," instead referring to himself as a thinker, rather than a member of any particular school. Despite this claim, Camus' literary works have strong elements of existentialist thought.

Camus died in a car accident on January 4, 1960.

Bibliography

Novels

  • The Stranger (L'Étranger) (1942)
  • The Plague (La Peste) (1947)
  • The Fall (La Chute) (1956)
  • A Happy Death (La Mort heureuse) (written 1936-1938, published posthumously 1971)
  • The First Man (Le premier homme) (incomplete, published posthumously 1995)

Short stories

  • Exile and the Kingdom (L'exil et le royaume) (a collection of long and short stories) (1957)

Non-fiction

  • Betwixt and Between (L'envers et l'endroit) (Collection, 1937)
  • The Myth of Sisyphus (Le Mythe de Sisyphe) (1942)
  • Neither Victim Nor Executioner (Combat) (1946)
  • The Rebel (L'Homme révolté) (1951)
  • Reflections on the Guillotine (Réfléxions sur la guillotine) (Extended essay, 1957)
  • Notebooks 1935-1942 (Carnets, mai 1935 — fevrier 1942) (1962)
  • Notebooks 1943-1951 (1965)
  • Nuptials (Noces)

Plays

  • Caligula (performed 1945, written 1938)
  • The Misunderstanding (Le Malentendu) (1944)
  • State of Siege (L'État de siège) (1948)
  • The Just Assassins (Les Justes) (1949)
  • The Possessed (Les Possédés, adapted from Dostoyevsky's novel by the same name) (1959)

Collections

  • Resistance, Rebellion, and Death (1961) - a collection of essays selected by the author.
  • Lyrical and Critical Essays (1970)
  • Youthful Writings (1976)
  • Between Hell and Reason: Essays from the Resistance Newspaper "Combat", 1944-1947 (1991)
  • Camus at "Combat": Writing 1944-1947 (2005)

References

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