Albert Camus

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Albert Camus
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{{short description|French author and journalist}}{{Use dmy dates|date=May 2011}}

| birth_place = Mondovi (present-day Dréan), French Algeriadf=yes119137}}| death_place = Villeblevin, FranceTraffic collision>Car accident| alma_mater = University of AlgiersThe Stranger (Camus novel)>The Stranger'The Myth of Sisyphus'The RebelThe Plague| signature = Albert Camus signature.svg| signature_size = 150px| signature_alt = Albert Camus signature| school_tradition = Continental philosophyAbsurdismExistentialismAnarchismSyndicalismEthics, Human nature>humanity, justice, politics, suicideJean-Paul Sartre>Sartre, Emma Goldman, Mikhail Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, Augustine, Homer, Lev Shestov, Karl Marx>Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoevsky>Dostoevsky, Søren Kierkegaard, Jean Grenier>Grenier, Samuel Beckett| influenced = Michel Onfray| notable_ideas = Absurdism}}Albert Camus ({{IPAc-en|k|æ|ˈ|m|uː}}; {{IPA-fr|albɛʁ kamy|lang|Fr-Albert Camus.oga}}; 7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957, the second youngest recipient in history. Camus was born in Algeria from poor French parents, he was a pied-noir. He spent his childhood in a poor neighbourhood and later studied philosophy at University of Algiers. He was in Paris when Germans invaded France. Camus tried to flee but finally joined the Resistance where he served as editor-in-chief at Combat, an outlawed newspaper. After World War II he was a celebrity figure and gave many lectures around the world. He married twice but had many extramarital affairs. Camus was politically active, he was part of the Left that was opposing the Soviet Union because of its totalitarianism. Camus was a moralist and was leaning towards anarcho-syndicalism. He took part in many organizations seeking European integration. During the Algerian War, he kept a neutral stance advocating for a multicultural and pluralistic Algeria, a position that caused controversy and was rejected by most parties. Philosophically, Camus views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. Camus is also considered to be an existentialist despite his having firmly rejected the term through his lifetime.


Early years and education

(File:Algiers The University (GRI).jpg|thumb|A 20th-century postcard of University of Algiers )Albert Camus was born on 7 November 1913 in a working-class neighbourhood in Mondovi (present-day Dréan), in French Algeria. His mother, Catherine Hélène Sintès Camus, was of Spaniard (Balearic) descent, and could only hear out of her left ear. His father, Lucien Camus, a poor French-Algerian agricultural worker, died in the Battle of the Marne in 1914 during World War I- Camus never met him. Camus, his mother and other relatives lived without many basic material possessions during his childhood in the Belcourt section of Algiers. Camus was a second generation French immigrant to Algeria, as his parental grandfather along with many others of his generation, moved to Africa for a better life during the first decades of the 19th century. Hence, he was called pied-noir (black foot)—a slang term for French that had settled in Algeria—and his binational identity and his poor background had a substantial effect in his later life.{{sfnm|1a1=Sherman|1y=2009|1p=10|2a1=Hayden|2y=2016|2p=7|3a1=Lottman|3y=1979|3p=11|4a1=Carroll|4y=2007|4pp=2-3}} Nevertheless, Camus was a French citizen, in contrast to Arab or Berberic inhabitants of Algeria who were denied the associate privileges.{{sfn|Carroll|2007|pp=2-3}} During his childhood, Camus developed a love for soccer and swimming.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=11}} Camus, under the influence of his teacher Louis Germain gained a scholarship in 1924 to continue his studies to a prestigious Lyceum near Algiers.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=8}}In 1930, during his studies, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=11}} Because tuberculosis is a transmitted disease, he moved out from his home and stayed with his uncle Gustave Acault, a butcher, who had an impact on young Camus. It was at that time that Camus turned to philosophy, with the mentoring of his philosophy teacher Jean Grenier. Camus was impressed by ancient Greek philosophers and Nietzsche.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=11}} During that time he was only able to study part-time. To earn money, he took odd jobs: as a private tutor, car parts clerk, and assistant at the Meteorological Institute.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=9}}In 1933, Camus enrolled at University of Algiers and completed his licence de philosophie (BA) in 1936; after presenting his thesis on Plotinus.{{harvnb|Sherman|2009|p=11|ps=: Camus thesis was titled "Rapports de l'hellénisme et du christianisme à travers les oeuvres de Plotin et de saint Augustin" ("Relationship of Greek and Christian thought in Plotinus and St. Augustine") for his diplôme d'études supérieures (roughly equivalent to an MA thesis).}} Camus developed an interest to early Christian philosophers but Nietzsche and Schopenhauer had paved the way towards pessimism and atheism. Camus also studied novelist-philosophers such as Stendhal, Melville, Dostoyevsky, and Kafka.{{sfn|Simpson|2019|loc=Background and Influences}} In 1933 also met Simone Hie, who would be his first wife.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=9}}Camus played as goalkeeper for Racing Universitaire d'Alger junior team from 1928 to 1930.{{sfn|Clarke|2009|p=488}} The sense of team spirit, fraternity, and common purpose appealed to Camus enormously.{{sfn|Lattal|1995}} In match reports Camus would often attract positive comment for playing with passion and courage. Any football ambitions disappeared when he contracted tuberculosis at the age of 17.{{sfn|Clarke|2009|p=488}} Camus draw parallels among football human existence, morality and personal identity. For Camus, the simplistic morality of football contradicted the complicated morality imposed by authorities as the state and the Church.{{sfn|Clarke|2009|p=488}}

Young Camus

In 1934, Camus, aged 20, married the beautiful drug addict Simone Hié, but the marriage a year later ended as a consequence of infidelity.{{sfnm|1a1=Cohn|1y=1986|1p=30|2a1=Hayden|2y=2016|p=9}} Simone was addicted to morphine, a drug she used to ease her menstrual pains. His uncle Gustave did not approve this relation but Camus did marry Simone to help her fight her addiction. He later found that she was a parallel relation with her medical doctor and the couple divorced later.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=9}} Camus, a handsome man, was a womanizer through his life.{{sfnm|1a1=Sherman|1y=2009|2a1=Hayden|2y=2016|2p=13}}Camus joined the French Communist Party (PCF) in early 1935, seeing it as a way of "fight inequalities between Europeans and 'natives' in Algeria", even though he was not a Marxist nor had he read Das Kapital.He explained: "We might see communism as a springboard and asceticism that prepares the ground for more spiritual activities." Camus left PCF a year later.{{sfnm|1a1=Todd|1y=2000|1pp=249–250|2a1=Sherman|2y=2009|2p=12}} In 1936, the independence-minded Algerian Communist Party (PCA) was founded and Camus joined it after his mentor Grenier advised him to do so. Camus main role within PCA was to organise Théâtre du Travail (Workers' Theatre). Camus was also close to Parti du Peuple Algérien (Algerian People's Party/PPA), who was a moderate anti-colonialist nationalist party. As the tension in the interwar period was escalating, stalinist PCA and PPA broke their ties and Camus was expelled from the party for refusing fall under the party line. This series of events sharpened Camus belief for human dignity and mistrust was grown for bureaucracies who would strive for efficacy instead of justice.He continue his involvement with theatre as he renamed his group to Théâtre de l'Equipe (Team's Theatre) and some of his scripts were the basis for his novels later on.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|pp=10–11}} In 1938, Camus started working for the leftist newspaper Alger Républicain (directed by Pascal Pia) as he had strong anti-fascist feelings and the rise of fascist regimes in Europe was worrying him. By then Camus had grown harsh feelings against authoritative colonialism as he witnessed the harsh treatment by French authorities of Arabs and Berbers. Alger Republicain was banned in 1940 and Camus flew to Paris for a new job at Paris-Soir as editor-in-chief. At Paris he almost completed his "first cycle" of works dealing with absurd and meaningless (The Stranger, the myth of Sisyphus and Caligula, each cycle consisted of a novel, an essay and a theatrical play) {{sfnm|1a1=Hayden|1y=2016|1p=12|2a1=Sherman|2y=2009|2pp=12–13}}

Word War II, Resistance and Combat

Soon after Camus moved to Paris, the outbreak of war reached France. Camus volunteered to join the army, but he was not accepted due to tuberculosis. As the Nazis were marching towards Paris, Camus fled from Paris and got laid-off from Paris Soir. Camus ended in Lyon and married pianist and mathematician Francine Faure on 3rd of December 1940.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|pp=13–14}} Camus and Francine moved back to Algeria (Oran) where Camus taught at primary schools.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=13}} Because of his illness though, he had to move back to French Alps where he started writing his second cycle of works, dealing with revolt (The Plague and The Misunderstanding). In 1943, he moved once more to Paris, this time was known by his earlier work, where he met and became friend with Jean-Paul Sartre. He also entered a circle of intellectials including Simone de Beauvoir, André Breton and others among them, Maria Casarès, an actress who would later develop a love affair with Camus.{{sfnm|1a1=Hayden|1y=2016|2a1=Sherman|2y=2009|2p=13}}Camus had an active role in the underground resistance movement against the Nazis during French Occupation. Upon his arrival at Paris, he started working as a journalist and editor of the banned newspaper Combat. He continued to write for the paper after the liberation of France.{{sfnm|1a1=Hayden|1y=2016|2a1=Sherman|2y=2009|2p=13}} Camus was using a pseudonym at his articles at Combat and used false id cards to avoid capturing. During that period Camus composed four Lettres à un ami allemand (Letters to a German Friend), explaining why resistance was a necessity.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=15}}

Post-World War II

(File:Albert Camus2.jpg|thumb|left|Albert Camus in the 1950s){{external media| float = right| width = 230px | video1 = Presentation by Olivier Todd on Albert Camus: A Life, December 15, 1997, C-SPAN}}After the War, Camus lived in Paris with Francine, who gave birth to two twin children in 1945. Camus was now a celebrated writer known for his role in the resistance and gave lectures to various universities in the United States and Latin America in two separate trips. He also visited Algeria once more, only to leave disappointed for the continuation of oppressive colonial policies, he so many times warned about. It was during this time he completed the second cycle of his work, with the book L'Homme révolté (the Rebel). Camus was attacking totalitarian Communism while advocating for libertarian socialism and anarcho-syndicalism. Upsetting many of his colleagues and contemporaries in France with his rejection of communism, the book brought about the final split with Sartre. His relations with the Marxist Left further deteriorated during the Algerian War.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|pp=16–17}}Camus was a strong supporter of European integration and participated in various marginal organisations working towards that end.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=18}} In 1944, Camus founded the "French Committee for the European Federation" (Comité Français pour la Féderation Européenne – CFFE) declaring that Europe "can only evolve along the path of economic progress, democracy, and peace if the nation states become a federation."{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=18}} In 1947–48, he founded the Revolutionary Union Movement (Groupes de liaison internationale – GLI){{sfn|Todd|2000|pp=249–250}} a trade union movement in the context of revolutionary syndicalism (syndicalisme révolutionnaire). According to Olivier Todd, in his biography Albert Camus, une vie, it was a group opposed to some tendencies of the Surrealist movement of André Breton. His colleagues were Nicolas Lazarévitch, Louis Mercier, Roger Lapeyre, Paul Chauvet, Auguste Largentier, and Jean de Boë.{{sfn|Boulouque|2000}} His main aim was to express the positive side of surrealism and existentialism, rejecting the negativity and the nihilism of André Breton. Camus also raised his voice against the Soviet intervention in Hungary and the totalitarian tendencies of Franco's regime in Spain.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=18}}Camus had numerous affairs, particularly an irregular and eventually public affair with the Spanish-born actress María Casares, with whom he had an extensive correspondence.{{sfnm|1a1=Sherman|1y=2009|1pp=14–17|2a1=Zaretsky|2y=2018}} Francine didn't take his affair lightly, he had a mental breakdown and needed hospitalization in early 1950s. Camus, who felt guilty withdrew from public life and was slightly depressed for some time.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=17}}In 1957, he received the news that he was to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The news came as a shock to Camus who was anticipating André Malraux to win the prestigious award. He was the second-youngest recipient, at the age of 44, of the Nobel Prize in Literature, after Rudyard Kipling, who was 42. After the Nobel Prize, he began working on his autobiography Le Premier Homme (The First Man) in an attempt to examine "moral learning" and also, turned to the theatre once more. {{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=19}} Financed by the money he received with his Nobel Prize, he adapted and directed for the stage Dostoyesvsky's Demons. The play opened in January 1959 at the Antoine Theatre in Paris It was a critical success.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=18}}


(File:20041113-002 Lourmarin Tombstone Albert Camus.jpg|thumb|left|Albert Camus' gravestone)File:Camus Monument in Villeblevin France 17-august-2003.4.JPG|thumb|The bronze plaque on the monument to Camus in the town of (Villeblevin]], France. It reads: "From the General Council of the Yonne Department, in homage to the writer Albert Camus whose remains lay in vigil at the Villeblevin town hall on the night of 4 to 5 January 1960.")File:Camus Monument in Villeblevin France 17-august-2003.1.JPG|thumb|The monument to Camus built in VilleblevinVilleblevinCamus died on 4 January 1960 at the age of 46, in a car accident near Sens, in Le Grand Fossard in the small town of Villeblevin. He was leaving Paris for a vacation with his publisher, Michel Gallimard who was driving and his family.{{sfnm|1a1=Sherman|1y=2009|1p=19|2a1=Simpson|2y=2019|2loc=Life}} Camus was buried in the Lourmarin Cemetery, Lourmarin, Vaucluse, France, where he had lived. {{sfn|Bloom|2009|p=52}} His friend Sartre read a touching eulogy, paying tribute to Camus’s heroic "stubborn humanism".{{sfn|Simpson|2019|loc= Life}}Two of Camus' works were published posthumously. The first, entitled A Happy Death (1970), featured a character named Patrice Mersault, comparable to The Stranger's Meursault. There is scholarly debate as to the relationship between the two books. The second was an unfinished novel, The First Man (1995), which Camus was writing before he died. The novel was an autobiographical work about his childhood in Algeria.

Literary career

File:Lucia 1957.jpg|thumb|right|Camus crowning Stockholm's Lucia on 13 December 1957, three days after accepting the Nobel Prize in LiteratureNobel Prize in LiteratureThe first publication of Camus was Revolte dans les Asturies in May 1936. This concerned a revolt by Spanish miners that were brutally suppressed by the Spanish government. In May 1937 he wrote his first book, L'Envers et l'Endroit (The Wrong Side and the Right Side). Both were edited by Edmond Charlot's small publishing house.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=11}}
Camus separated his work in three cycles. Each one cycle consisted of three types of work: a novel, a theatrical play and an essay. First, was the "cycle of the absurd" consisting of L'Étranger, Le Mythe de Sysiphe and Caligula. The second was the cycle of the revolt (The Plague, The Rebel and Kaliayev) and the third, the cycle of the love, consisting of Nemesis. Apparently, there were more but Camus's sudden death did not let him complete his work. Each cycle was an examination of a theme with the use of a pagan myth and having biblical motifs as well. {{sfn|Sharpe|2015|pp=41–44}}The books of the first cycle were published between 1942 and 1944 but the theme was conceived much earlier, at least as back as 1936.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=23}} With this cycle, Camus aims to pose a question on human condition and as the world is an absurd place, warn humanity about the consequences of totalitarianism.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=41}}Camus began his work on the second cycle while he was in Algeria, in the last months of 1942, while Nazi aggression was reaching north Africa.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=14}} At the second cycle, Camus picks up Prometheus, who is depicted as a revolutionary humanist, to highlight the nuance among revolution and rebellion. Camus analyses various aspects of rebellion, its metaphysics, its connection to politics, examines it under the lens of modernity, of historicity, of the absent of a God.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|pp=45–47}}After receiving the Nobel price award, Camus gathered, clarified, and published his pacifist leaning views at Actuelles III: Chronique algérienne 1939–1958. He then decided to distance himself from the Algerian War as the mental burden was too heavy for him. He turned to theatre and the third cycle which was about love and Goddess Nemesis.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=19}}At the time of his death, Camus was working on an incomplete novel with a strong biographical component titled The First Man. The publication of this book in 1994 has sparked a widespread reconsideration of Camus' allegedly unrepentant colonialism.{{sfn|Carroll|2007}}{| class="wikitable"Sharpe|2015|p=44}}! Years ! Pagan myth ! Biblical motif ! Novel ! PlaysThe Stranger (Camus novel)>The Stranger (L’Étranger) Caligula,The Misunderstanding (Le Malentendu)The Plague (La Peste)>The State of Siege (L'État de siège) The Just Assassins>The Just (Les Justes)The Fall (Albert Camus novel)>The Fall (La Chute) Adaptations of The Possessed (Dostoevsky); Faulkner's Requiem for a NunThe First Man (Le Premier Homme)>|

Political stance

Camus was a moralist, he was claiming that morality should guide politics. While not rejecting that morals do change through time, he was rejecting classical marxist doctrine that history defines morality. Camus has also been strong in his criticism against authoritarian communism, especially in the case of Soviet Marxism who consider it as totalitarianism. Camus rebuked Soviet apologists and their "decision to call total servitude freedom"{{sfn|Foley|2008|pp=75–76}} As a proponent of libertarian socialism, he was claiming that neither the USSR was socialist, nor the US were liberal.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|pp=185–87}} His fierce critique of USSR caused him to clash with others on the political Left, most notably with his friend, Jean-Paul Sartre. Camus was active in the French Resistance to the German occupation of France during World War II, directing the famous Resistance journal Combat. On the French collaboration with Nazi occupiers he wrote: "Now the only moral value is courage, which is useful here for judging the puppets and chatterboxes who pretend to speak in the name of the people."{{sfn|Bernstein|1997}} After liberation, Camus remarked, "This country does not need a Talleyrand, but a Saint-Just."{{sfn|Bronner|2009|p=74}} The reality of the bloody postwar tribunals soon changed his mind: Camus publicly reversed himself and became a lifelong opponent of capital punishment.{{sfn|Bronner|2009|p=74}}Camus leaned towards anarchism, a tendency that intensified after the 1950s when the moral bankruptcy of the Soviet Union became evident.{{sfnm|1a1=Dunwoodie|1y=1993|1p=86|2a1=Marshall|2y=1993|2p=445}}Camus had been firm against any kind of exploitation, authority and property, bosses, the State and centralization.{{sfn|Dunwoodie|1993|p=87}} Philosophy professor at Montana University David Sherman considers Camus as anarchosyndicalist. In his own words: "For Camus, this claim is ultimately grounded in human nature itself, which, among other things, is characterized by a strong impulse toward both spontaneity and creativity, and his commitment to a radically democratic ("bottom up") form of political organization, as manifested in revolutionary trade-unionism or the Paris Commune of 1871, is, arguably, most in keeping with this fundamental condition of human flourishing. Politically, therefore, whether in 1944 or 1954, Camus is best understood as a libertarian socialist or, more exactly, an anarcho-syndicalist (anarcho-syndicalism being the theory that politics should begin with voluntary associations of cooperative, labor-based groups rather than the state"{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=185}}{{sfn |University Of Montana| 2015}} Graeme Nicholson, considers Camus as an existentialist anarchist.{{sfn|Nicholson|1971|p=14}}The anarchist André Prudhommeaux first introduced him at a meeting in 1948 of the Cercle des Étudiants Anarchistes (Anarchist Student Circle) as a sympathiser familiar with anarchist thought. Camus wrote for anarchist publications such as Le Libertaire, La révolution Prolétarienne, and Solidaridad Obrera (Workers' Solidarity), the organ of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT (National Confederation of Labor).{{sfnm|1a1=Dunwoodie|1y=1993|1pp=87-87|1ps=: See also appendix p 97|2a1=Hayden|2y=2016|2p=18}} Camus kept a neutral stance during the Algerian Revolution.(1954–62) While he was against the violence of National Liberation Front (FLN) he acknowledged the injustice and brutalities imposed by colonialist France. He was supportive of Pierre Mendès's socialist party PSU and its approach to the crisis· Mendes was advocating for reconciliation. Camus also supported a likeminded Algerian militant, Aziz Kessous. Camus travelled to Algeria to negotiate a truce among both belligerents but was met by distrust by all parties.{{sfnm|1a1=Sherman|1y=2009|1pp=17–18 & 188|2a1=Cohn|2y=1986|2pp=30 & 38}} His confrontation with an Algerian nationalist during his acceptance speech of the Nobel Prize made a sensation. When confronted with the dilemma to choose among his mother and justice, he would choose his mother. His precise respond was "I have always condemned terrorism, and I must condemn a terrorism that works blindly in the streets of Algiers and one day might strike at my mother and family. I believe in justice, but I will defend my mother before justice."{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=191}} Critics of Camus claimed this was reactionary and a result of a colonialist attitude.{{sfnm|1a1=Sherman|1y=2009|1p=19|2a1=Simpson|2y=2019|3a1=Marshall|3y=1993|3p=584}} According to David Sherman, though, Camus was aiming to highlight the false dichotomy of the two choices as the use of terrorism and indiscriminate violence could not bring justice under any circumstances.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=191}}Camus was sharp on his criticism of nuclear weapon proliferation and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=87}} In the 1950s, Camus devoted his efforts to human rights. In 1952, he resigned from his work for UNESCO when the UN accepted Spain as a member under the leadership of General Franco.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=17}} Camus maintained his pacifism and resisted capital punishment anywhere in the world. He wrote an essay against capital punishment in collaboration with Arthur Koestler, the writer, intellectual, and founder of the League Against Capital Punishment.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=73 & 85}}


(File:Départements français d'Algérie 1934-1955 map-fr.svg|thumb|Administrative organisation of French Algeria between 1905 and 1955)Camus born in Algeria by French parents was familiar with the institutional racism of France against Arabs, but he was not part of a rich elite· Camus lived in very poor conditions a child, but still, he was a citizen of France and was entitled of citizens rights, whereas the Arab and Berberic majority of the country did not.{{sfn|Carroll|2007|pp=3-4}}Camus was a vocal advocate of the "new Mediterranean Culture" a term he used to describe his vision of embracing the multi-ethnic of Algerian people, in opposition to "Latiny", a popular pro-fascist and antisemitic ideology among other pieds-noirs. For Camus, this vision encapsulated the hellenic humanism which survived among ordinary people around the Mediterranean Sea.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=141-143}} His 1938 address on "The New Mediterranean Culture" represents Camus' most systematic statement on his views at this time. Camus also supported the Blum-Viollette proposal to grant Algerians full French citizenship in a manifesto with arguments defending this assimilative proposal on radical egalitarian grounds. {{sfn|Hayden|2016|p=145}} In 1939, Camus wrote a stinging series of articles for Alger Republicain on the atrocious living conditions of the inhabitants of the Kabylie highlands, advocating for economic, educational and political reforms as a matter of emergency.{{sfn|Sharpe|2015|p=356}}In 1945, following the Sétif and Guelma massacre after Arab revolts against French mistreatment, Camus was one of only a few mainland journalists to visit the colony, again writing a series of article reports on conditions, and advocating for French reforms and concessions to the demands of the Algerian people.{{sfn|Foley|2008|pp=150–151}}When the Algerian War began in 1954, Camus was confronted with a moral dilemma. He identified with the Pieds-Noirs such as his own parents and defended the French government's actions against the revolt. He argued that the Algerian uprising was an integral part of the 'new Arab imperialism' led by Egypt and an 'anti-Western' offensive orchestrated by Russia to 'encircle Europe' and 'isolate the United States'.{{sfn|Sharpe|2015|p=322}} Although favouring greater Algerian autonomy or even federation, though not full-scale independence, he believed that the Pieds-Noirs and Arabs could co-exist. During the war he advocated a civil truce that would spare the civilians, which was rejected by both sides, who regarded it as foolish. Behind the scenes, he began to work for imprisoned Algerians who faced the death penalty.{{sfn|Foley|2008|p=161}} His position drew much criticism from the left who considered the colonialism as an unacceptable position. In their eyes, Camus was no longer the defender of the oppressed.{{sfn|Carroll|2007|pp=7-8}}Camus once confided that the troubles in Algeria "affected him as others feel pain in their lungs."{{sfn|Sharpe|2015|p=9}}



Even though Camus is mostly connected to Absurdism,{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=3}} he is routinely categorized as an Existentialist, a term he rejected in several occasions.{{sfn|Sharpe|2015|p=3}} Camus himself cited his philosophical origins (ancient Greek philosophy, Nietzsche, 17th-century moralists) whereas existentialism arises from the 19th German philosophy (such as Kierkegaard, Jaspers and Heidegger).{{sfnm|1a1=Foley|1y=2008|1pp=1–2|2a1=Sharpe|2y=2015|2p=29}} He also cited his work i.e. The myth of Sisyphus, which according to Camus, it was a criticism to various aspects of existentialism.{{sfn|Foley|2008|pp=2}} Camus was rejecting existentialism as a philosophy, but his critique was mostly focusing on Sartrean existentialism (and to a lesser extent on religious existentialism) as he thought that importance of history given by Marx and Sartre was incompatible with his belief in human freedom.{{sfnm|1a1=Foley|1y=2008|1p=3|2a1=Sherman|2y=2009|2p=3}} David Sherman and others also suggest that the rivalry between Sartre and Camus, played at least a part in his rejection of existentialism.{{sfnm|1a1=Sherman|1y=2009|1p=4|2a1=Simpson|2y=2019|2loc= Existentialism}} David Simpson further argues that his humanism and belief in human nature sets him apart from existentialism doctrine that existence precedes essence.{{sfn|Simpson|2019|loc= Existentialism}}On the other hand, Camus focused most of his philosophy around existential questions. The absurdity of life, the inevitable ending (death) is highlighted in his acts, his belief that the absurd – life being void of meaning, or man's inability to know that meaning if it were to exist – was something that man should embrace, his anti-Christianity, his commitment to individual moral freedom and responsibility are only a few of the similarities with other existential writers.{{sfnm|1a1=Sharpe|1y=2015|1pp=5–6|2a1=Simpson|2y=2019|2loc= Existentialism}} More importantly, Camus addressed one of the fundamental questions of existentialism: the problem of suicide. He wrote "There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide" Camus viewed the question of suicide as arising naturally as a solution to the absurdity of life.{{sfn|Aronson|2017|loc=Introduction}}


Many existentialists writers have addressed the Absurd, each with his or her own interpretation of what the Absurd is and what comprises its importance. Sartre recognizes the absurdity of individual experience, while Kierkegaard explains that the absurdity of certain religious truths prevents us from reaching God rationally.{{sfn|Foley|2008|pp=5–6}} Camus occupation with Absurds starts with his first cycle of books, with the literary essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus) being his major work on Absurd. In 1942 he published the story of a man living an absurd life as L'Étranger (The Stranger). That time he also wrote a play about Caligula, a Roman Emperor, pursuing an absurd logic. The play was not performed until 1945. His early thoughts appeared in his first collection of essays, L'Envers et l'endroit (Betwixt and Between) in 1937. Absurd themes were expressed with more sophistication in his second collection of essays, Noces (Nuptials), in 1938 and The Wrong Side and the Right Side. In these essays, Camus reflects on the experience of the Absurd.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=23}} Aspects of the notion of the Absurd can be found in other works of Camus the Plague.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|p=8}} Camus follows Sartre's definition on the absurd, absurd is "That which is meaningless. Thus man's existence is absurd because his contingency finds no external justification".{{sfn|Foley|2008|pp=5–6}} The absurd is created because of the realization of man, who is placed into an unintelligent universe, that human values are not founded on a solid external component; or as Camus himself explains, the absurd is the result of the "confrontation between human need and the unreasonable silence of the world".{{sfn|Foley|2008|p=6}} Even though absurdity is inescapable, Camus does is not drifted towards nihilism. But the realization of absurdity leads to the question: why someone should continue to live? Suicide is an option that Camus firmly dismisses as the renunciation of human values and freedom. Rather than, he proposes we accept that absurdity is a part of our lives and live with it.{{sfn|Foley|2008|p=7-10}}The turning point in Camus's attitude to the Absurd occurs in a collection of four letters to an anonymous German friend, written between July 1943 and July 1944. The first was published in the Revue Libre in 1943, the second in the Cahiers de Libération in 1944, and the third in the newspaper Libertés, in 1945. The four letters were published as Lettres à un ami allemand (Letters to a German Friend) in 1945, and were included in the collection Resistance, Rebellion, and Death.Camus regretted the continued reference to himself as a "philosopher of the absurd". He showed less interest in the Absurd shortly after publishing Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus). To distinguish his ideas, scholars sometimes refer to the Paradox of the Absurd, when referring to "Camus' Absurd".{{sfn|Curtis|1972|p=335-348}}


Camus is known for his articulating the case of Revolt against any kind of oppression, injustice or whatever disrespects the human condition but is cautious enough to set the limits of the rebellion.{{sfnm|1a1=Sharpe|1y=2015|1p=18|2a1=Simpson|2y=2019|2loc=Revolt}} The Rebel was the book that Camus explains in detail his thoughts on the issue. There, he builds upon the absurd (described at The myth of Sisyphus) but goes further from the first chapter. At introduction, where he examines the metaphysics of rebellion, he concludes with the phrase "I revolt, therefore we exist" implying the recognition of a common human condition {{sfn|Foley|2008|pp=55–56}} Camus also delineates the difference between revolution and rebellion and notices that history has shown that the rebel's revolution might easily end to be an oppressive regime. So he places importance on the morals accompanying the revolution.{{sfn|Foley|2008|pp=56–58}} Camus poses a crucial question: Is it possible for humans to act in an ethical and meaningful manner, in a silent universe? Yes, as the experience and awareness of the absurd creates the moral values and also sets the limits of our actions.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|pp=43–44}} Camus separates the modern form of rebellion into two modes. Firstly, there is the metaphysical rebellion, which is "the movement by which man protests against his condition and against the whole of creation" as Camus wrote. The other mode, historical rebellion, is the attempt to materialize the abstract spirit of metaphysical rebellion and change the world. In this attempt, the rebel must balance between the evil of the world and the intrinsic evil which every revolt carries, and not cause any unjustifiable suffering.{{sfn|Hayden|2016|pp=50–55}}


Camus work, either his novels or philosophical essays, is still influential. After his death, interest on Camus followed the rise (and diminution) of New Left. Following the Collapse of Soviet Union, interest in Camus alternative road to communist resurged.{{sfn|Sherman|2009|pp=207–208}} He is remembered for his sceptical humanism, his support to political toleration, dialogue and civil rights.{{sfn|Sharpe|2015|pp= 241–242}}Although Camus has been linked to anti-Soviet communism, reaching as far as anarcho-syndicalism, some neoliberals have tried to associate him with their policies ie when the French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested for his remains to be moved to Panthéon, a moved that angered many at the Left. {{sfnm|1a1=Zaretsky|1y=2013|1pp=3–4|2a1=Sherman|2y=2009|2p=208}}



  • The Stranger (L'Étranger, often translated as The Outsider) (1942)
  • The Plague (La Peste) (1947)
  • The Fall (La Chute) (1956)
  • A Happy Death (La Mort heureuse) (written 1936–38, published posthumously 1971)
  • The First Man (Le premier homme) (incomplete, published posthumously 1995)

Short stories

Non-fiction books



Collected essays

  • Resistance, Rebellion, and Death (1961) â€“ a collection of essays selected by the author, including the 1945 Lettres à un ami allemand (Letters to a German Friend) and A Defense of Intelligence, a 1945 speech given at a meeting organized by Amitié Française.{{sfn|Orme|2007}} ;also includes Why Spain?, Reflections on the Guillotine and Create Dangerously.
  • Lyrical and Critical Essays (1970) – essays which include L'envers et l'endroit, Noces and L'Eté.
  • Youthful Writings (1976)
  • Between Hell and Reason: Essays from the Resistance Newspaper "Combat", 1944–1947 (1991)
  • Camus at "Combat": Writing 1944–1947 (2005)
  • Albert Camus Contre la Peine de Mort (2011)




  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Aronson, Ronald, Albert Camus, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta,weblink 2017, harv,
  • NEWS, Bernstein, Richard,weblink In Camus's notebooks and letters, as quoted in, 'Albert Camus: A Life', By Olivier Todd, The New York Times, 17 October 2009, no,weblink" title="">weblink 10 May 2006, dmy, 19 December 1997, harv,
  • BOOK, Bloom, Harold, Harold Bloom, Albert Camus,weblink 2009, Infobase Publishing, 978-1-4381-1515-3, harv,
  • JOURNAL, Boulouque, Sylvain, Nicolas Lazarévitch, Itinéraire d'un syndicaliste révolutionnaire, Communisme, 2000, harv,
  • BOOK, Bronner, Stephen Eric, Stephen Bronner, Camus: Portrait of a Moralist,weblink 3 September 2011, 15 September 2009, University of Chicago Press, 978-0-226-07567-9, harv,
  • BOOK,weblink Albert Camus the Algerian: Colonialism, Terrorism, Justice, Carroll, David, 4 May 2007, Columbia University Press, 9780231511766, en, harv,
  • JOURNAL, Clarke, Liam, Football as a metaphor: learning to cope with life, manage emotional illness and maintain health through to recovery, Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Wiley, 16, 5, 2009, 1351-0126, 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2009.01403.x, 19538606, 488–492, harv,
  • JOURNAL, Cohn, Robert Greer, The True Camus, The French Review, 60, 1, 30–38, 1986, harv, 393607,
  • JOURNAL, Curtis, Jerry L., 1 August 1972, The absurdity of rebellion, Man and World, en, 5, 3, 335–348, 10.1007/bf01248640, 0025-1534, harv,
  • JOURNAL, Dunwoodie, Peter, Albert Camus and the Anarchist Alternative, Australian Journal of French Studies, Liverpool University Press, 30, 1, 1993, 0004-9468, 10.3828/ajfs.30.1.84, 84–104, harv,
  • BOOK, Foley, John, Albert Camus: From the Absurd to Revolt,weblink 2008, McGill-Queen's University Press, 978-0-7735-3467-4, harv,
  • BOOK, Hayden, Patrick, Camus and the Challenge of Political Thought: Between Despair and Hope,weblink 9 February 2016, Springer, 978-1-137-52583-3, harv,
  • WEB, Lattal, Ashley, 1995,weblink Albert Camus,, 17 October 2009, harv,
  • BOOK, Lottman, Herbert, Herbert Lottman, Albert Camus: A Biography,weblink 1979, Axis, 978-1-870845-12-0, harv,
  • BOOK, Marshall, Peter H., Peter Marshall (author), Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism,weblink 1993, Fontana, 978-0-00-686245-1, harv,
  • JOURNAL, Nicholson, Graeme, Graeme Nicholson, Camus and Heidegger: Anarchists, University of Toronto Quarterly, 41, 1971, 14–23,weblink harv, 10.3138/utq.41.1.14,
  • BOOK, Orme, Mark, The Development of Albert Camus's Concern for Social and Political Justice: "justice Pour Un Juste",weblink 2007, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 978-0-8386-4110-1, harv,
  • BOOK, Sharpe, Matthew, Matthew Sharpe, Camus, Philosophe: To Return to our Beginnings,weblink 3 September 2015, BRILL, 978-90-04-30234-1, harv,
  • BOOK, Sherman, David, Camus,weblink 30 January 2009, John Wiley & Sons, 978-1-4443-0328-5, harv,
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Simpson, David, Albert Camus (1913—1960), The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2019,weblink 2161-0002, harv,
  • BOOK, Todd, Olivier, Oliver Todd, Albert Camus: A Life, Carroll & Graf, 2000, 978-0-7867-0739-3, harv,
  • WEB, Philosophy, University Of Montana, 2015-12-04,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2015-12-04, no, {{sfnref, University Of Montana, 2015, | access-date=2019-05-04}}
  • MAGAZINE, Zaretsky, Robert,weblink 'No Longer the Person I Was': The Dazzling Correspondence of Albert Camus and Maria Casarès, Los Angeles Review of Books, 2018, 13 April 2018, harv,
  • BOOK, Zaretsky, Robert, A Life Worth Living,weblink 7 November 2013, Harvard University Press, 978-0-674-72837-0, harv,

Further reading

Selected biographies

  • BOOK, Thody, Philip Malcolm Waller, Albert Camus: A Study of His Work,weblink 1957, Hamish Hamilton,
  • BOOK, Brisville, Jean-Claude, Jean-Claude Brisville, Camus,weblink 1959, Gallimard,
  • BOOK, Parker, Emmett, Albert Camus: The Artist in the Arena,weblink 1965, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 978-0-299-03554-9,
  • BOOK, King, Adele, Adele King, Albert Camus,weblink 1964, Grove Press,
  • BOOK, McCarthy, Patrick, Camus: A Critical Study of His Life and Work,weblink 1982, Hamish Hamilton, 978-0-241-10603-7,
  • BOOK, Sprintzen, David, Camus: A Critical Examination,weblink February 1991, Temple University Press, 978-0-87722-827-1,
  • BOOK, King, Adele, Adele King, Camus's L'Etranger: Fifty Years on,weblink 12 June 1992, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 978-1-349-22003-8,
  • BOOK, Bloom, Harold, Harold Bloom, Albert Camus,weblink 2009, Infobase Publishing, 978-1-4381-1515-3,
  • BOOK, Pierre Louis Rey, Camus: l'homme révolté,weblink 2006, Gallimard, 978-2-07-031828-5,
  • BOOK, Hawes, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Hawes, Camus, a Romance,weblink 2009, Grove Press, 978-0-8021-1889-9,
  • BOOK, Carroll, Sean B., Sean B. Carroll, Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize,weblink 2013, Crown Publishers, 978-0-307-95234-9,

External links

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