Study Guide

Albert Camus

Albert Camus Essay - Camus, Albert

Camus, Albert


Albert Camus

See also The Guest Criticism, Albert Camus Literary Criticism (Volume 1), and Volumes 2, 4, 9, 14, 32, 124.


1882: Catherine-Hélène Sintès, the mother of Albert Camus, is born on 5 November in Birkadem, Algeria, just south of Algiers.

1885: Lucien Auguste Camus, father of Albert Camus, is born on 28 November in Ouled Fayet, Algeria.

1909: Lucien Auguste Camus and Catherine-Hélène Sintès are married on 13 November in Algiers.

1910: Lucien Jean Etienne Camus, the couple’s elder son, is born on 20 January in Belcourt, a neighborhood of Algiers.

1913: Albert Camus is born on 7 November just outside Mondovi, near Bone (now Annaba), in eastern Algeria.

1914: Austria declares war on Serbia on 28 July after Serbia fails to comply with conditions demanded by Austria following the assassination in June of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serb. Austria’s declaration of war marks the beginning of World War I. Germany declares general mobilization on 31 July. Lucien Camus reports for military duty on I August, having moved his family to Belcourt, where his wife and their sons settle in the home of her mother, Catherine Sintès, nee Cardona. Germany, having declared war against Russia on I August, declares war on France two days later. Lucien Camus is wounded in the Battle of the Marne on 5 September; he dies on 11 October in a military hospital in Saint-Brieuc, Brittany.

1918: Albert Camus becomes a pupil in a private kindergarten; he learns to read and write.

1919: Camus begins attending the neighborhood school in Belcourt.

1921: On 7 May the Camus sons are declared “pupils of the nation,” with the right to free medical treatment and scholarships, because of their father’s death in the war. Their mother is awarded a very small lifetime pension and funds for each boy until he reaches eighteen years of age.

1923: Louis Germain becomes Camus’s teacher in October.

1924: In June or July, Camus takes the first part of the examination for the baccalaureate diploma.

In June, Camus passes the entrance examinations to the Grand Lycée in Algiers. He enters the Lycée on a scholarship in October.

1929: Camus enters the penultimate year of lycée course work, called première, in October.

1930: In June or July, Camus takes the first part of the examination for the baccalaureate diploma. In October, he begins his last year of lycée course work, called philosophie, with Jean Grenier as his professor. In December, having coughed and spat blood in August, Camus becomes too ill to continue his studies and leaves the lycée. Tuberculosis is diagnosed in the right lung, and he is hospitalized.

1931: In the winter Camus is taken in by his aunt Antoinette Sintès Acault, called Gaby, and her husband, Gustave Acault. The following summer (?), Camus meets Simone Hié through his friend Max-Pol Fouchet. Camus returns to the lycée to repeat his philosophie in October.

1932: Catherine Sintès dies. In March, Camus’s first published essay appears in Sud, a literary magazine with which Grenier is connected; other publications follow shortly. Camus receives his baccalaureate degree (second part) in the summer. In the autumn he enters the university-preparatory class called hypokhâgne at the lycée.

1933: Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany on 30 January. On 5 July, Camus receives the first prize in French composition and second in philosophy in hypokhâgne. That same month Camus, who has displeased the Acaults because of his involvement with Simone, moves in with his brother, Lucien. In October, Camus enters the University of Algiers to study for a license (degree) in philosophy, a four-part program. He receives a certificate in sociology and morale (ethics) on 6 November.

1934: Camus’s first piece of art criticism is published on 25 January in Alger-Etudiant, the university newspaper. On 16 June he and Simone are married in a civil ceremony. He is reconciled with Acault and Gaby, who, along with Simone’s mother, help support the couple. That same month, Camus receives a psychology certificate. He obtains a position with the Préfecture d’Alger (the French administration in Algeria) in the summer. Camus fails the physical examination for compulsory military service in October and is thus exempted. At the university he begins attending lectures by Jacques Heurgon, a professor of classics and an acquaintance of André Gide. On 8 November, Camus obtains his third certificate, in études litteraires classiques (classical literature). He finishes his essay “Les Voix du quartier pauvre” (Voices from the Poor Neighborhood) on 25 December. The essay is an important autobiographical text, some portions of which reappear in L’Envers et l’endroit (1937; translated as “Betwixt and Between” in Lyrical and Critical, 1967).

1935: Camus begins keeping his carnets (notebooks or journals) in May. On 4 June he obtains his fourth certificate, in logic and general philosophy. In July, André Malraux delivers an impassioned anti-Fascist speech in Algiers, which Camus is believed to have heard. Simone and Camus, who are undergoing domestic difficulties, decide that she should go for a retreat, or cure, to the Balearic Islands because of her drug addiction. In August, while sailing with friends along the North African coast to the east, Camus falls ill, coughing and spitting up blood, and has to return to Algiers. Later he makes a brief trip to the Balearic Islands to meet Simone. He joins the Algerian Communist Party in the autumn and becomes associated with the theater group Theatre du Travail (Labor Theater).

1936: On 25 January the Théâtre du Travail gives the first performance of Camus’s dramatic adaptation of Malraux’s Le Temps du mépris (1935; translated as Days of Wrath, 1936). In the spring Camus and three friends rent a house above the bay in Algiers, “La Maison Fichu,” or “La Maison devant le monde” (House Above the World). In May, Edmond Chariot publishes Revolte dans les Asturies (Révolt in Asturias), a collaborative venture, with text by Camus and others. In the summer Camus obtains his diplôme d’études supérieures in philosophy with a thesis titled “Métaphysique chrétienne et néoplatonisme” (Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism), directed by René Poirier. Camus and Simone travel with Yves Bourgeois in France, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Italy. Camus discovers Simone’s infidelity by opening a letter from a doctor in Algiers. They quarrel and separate definitively upon returning to Algeria in September.

1937: L’Envers et l’endroit, Camus’s first volume, is published by Chariot on 10 May. Camus sails for Marseilles on 29 July; he visits Paris for the first time, spends a month in Embrun for his health, and visits Italy. Upon returning to Algeria, he turns down an appointment to teach in Sidi Bel-Abbés, about fifty miles south of Oran. In August he begins drafting La Mort heureuse, which is published posthumously in 1971 (translated as A Happy Death, 1972). In the autumn, having resigned from the Algerian Communist Party, Camus founds the theater group Théâtre de l’Equipe. He becomes better acquainted with Francine Faure, whom he met earlier.

1938: In May the Théâtre de 1’Equipe stages Les Fréres Karamazov, an adaptation by Jacques Copeau of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1879-1880). Late in the summer, Camus meets Pascal Pia and begins working for the newspaper Alger Républicain, which is first published on 6 October. A review of Jean-Paul Sartre’s first novel, La Nausée (1938; translated as Nausea, 1949) appears in the 20 October edition of the Alger Républicain over Camus’s signature.

1939: Camus’s Noces (translated as “Nuptials” in Lyrical and Critical) is published by Chariot on 23 May. The first installment of his “Misére de la Kabylie” (Poverty in Kabylia) appears in the Alger Républicain on 5 June; others follow shortly. Camus, who has a ticket to travel to Greece by boat with Francine on 2 September, must cancel the journey after Germany’s invasion of Poland on 1 September, which marks the beginning of World War II. Two days later, France and Great Britain declare war on Germany after ultimatums expire without reply. Camus volunteers for armed duty but is rejected for reasons of health. On 15 September he and Pia found Le Soir Républicain, which is associated with the Alger Républicain. Throughout the summer of this year and into the following winter, Camus works simultaneously on three texts, which will be published as L’Etranger (1942; translated as The Stranger, 1946), Le Mythe de Sisyphe (1942; translated as The Myth of Sisyphus, 1955), and Caligula (1944; translated, 1947).

1940: Publication of Le Soir Républicain is suspended on 10 January by police order, after repeated censure. A divorce court issues a decree on 20 February dissolving the Camus marriage, effective 27 September. Camus arrives in Paris on 23 March to join Pia on the staff of Paris-Soir, a daily. Camus finishes the manuscript of L’Etranger in the spring. On 10 May, German forces invade the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. French forces fall back badly. The French government leaves Paris for Bordeaux on 10 June. The same day, members of the Paris-Soir staff, including Camus, depart for Clermont-Ferrand. On 22 June, French representatives sign an armistice with Germany, agreeing to all terms imposed, including the division of France into two zones: “Occupied,” under direct German control; and “Free,” under the control of the new, collaborating French government under General Philippe Pétain. (Pétain’s government is called the Vichy government for the name of the town in central France where it is based.) In August or September Paris-Soir and its staff move to Lyons. Camus arrives there sometime after early September. On 3 December, Francine reaches France from Oran, Algeria; she and Camus are married in the city hall of Lyons.

1941: Camus and Francine return to Oran in January. Camus earns money by doing editorial work for Chariot and teaching at a private school at which the pupils are Jewish and have been banned by Vichy laws from attending public schools. Francine also teaches. Inspired in part by a recent typhus epidemic in Algeria, Camus begins taking notes for La Peste (1947; translated as The Plague, 1948). He finishes the manuscript of Le Mythe de Sisyphe on 21 February. In September, with Pia and Malraux serving as intermediaries, Camus submits three manuscripts to the publisher Gallimard: L’Etranger, Le Mythe de Sisyphe, and Caligula (an early version).

1942: Camus falls seriously ill in January, spitting blood; tuberculosis is found in the left lung as well as the right. Gallimard brings out L’Etranger in a printing of 4,400 copies on 15 June. Le Mythe de Sisyphe is published later in the year. To escape Oran’s humidity, Camus and Francine obtain a travel pass and sail to France in August. They settle in a hamlet called Le Panelier outside Chambon-sur-Lignon. In order to be in Oran in time for the opening of school, Francine returns there shortly, expecting Camus to join her soon. On 8 November, British and American troops land at several locations in North Africa. Germany takes possession of the Free Zone of France, and all travel and correspondence between the country and Africa cease. Camus is obliged to remain in France rather than follow Francine to Oran.

1943: Camus visits Paris in January and meets Jean Paulhan, who has published Camus’s two books under the Gallimard imprint, and other figures connected to the Nouvelle Revue Française prior to the fall of France. He also meets the actress Maria Casarés. In February, Sartre publishes his assessment of L’Etranger. Camus visits Paris again in June. At the première of Sartre’s play Les Mouches (1943; translated as The Flies, 1946) he meets Sartre for the first time. Later, Simone de Beauvoir and Camus become acquainted at the Café de Flore. Hired as a reader by Gallimard in November, Camus moves to Paris. He begins working for Combat, the underground newspaper of the Combat Resistance movement. He publishes the first of his Lettres á un ami allemand (1945; translated as “Letters to a German Friend” in Resistance, Rebellion, and Death, 1961) and other short texts in clan-destine magazines.

1944: Camus’s Caligula is published. With Sartre, Beauvoir, Michel Leiris, Georges Bataille, Armand Salacrou, Georges Limbour, Jacques Lacan, Dora Marr, and others, Camus participates in a private reading of Pablo Picasso’s play Le Désir attrapé par la queue (Desire Caught by the Tail, 1941) in Leiris’s Paris apartment in March. Sartre’s play Huis clos (1945; translated as No Exit, 1946), in which Camus was originally to play the role of Garcin, has its première on 10 June. That same month, Camus moves into the studio of the Left Bank apartment of Gide, who has been in Tunisia for much of the war. The first above-ground edition of Combat is published in Paris on 21 August. Camus’s play Le Malentendu (translated as Crass Purpose, 1947) receives its first performance on 24 August. On the same day, French troops under General Philippe Leclerc and other Allied troops enter Paris and complete the liberation of the city on the following day; insurgents also participate in the liberation. Camus is publicly named editor in chief of the new Combat in the autumn. Francine arrives in Paris from Oran.

1944-1945: Camus maintains close ties with Sartre, Beauvoir, and Mau-rice Merleau-Ponty.

1945: Camus’s health being gravely compromised, his doctor orders rest in January; briefly, Camus ceases to write for Combat. In February the last pockets of German resistance in eastern France are cleaned out by Allied troops. Camus returns to Algeria in April, his first time there since 1942. He tours the territory for three weeks and files eight reports for Combat. World War II ends in Europe on 8 May with the surrender of Germany. On the same day massacres of indigenous Algerians by the French take place in Setif and Guelma following earlier rioting. Jean and Catherine, twin children of Francine and Albert Camus, are born on 5 September. Caligula has its première, with Gerard Philipe in the title role, on 26 September.

1946: Camus journeys to the United States and Canada. In the summer he vacations in Lourmarin in Provence.

Late 1940s: Camus attempts to persuade his mother, brother, and brother’s family to settle in the south of France; they agree to a trial stay, which is not successful.

1947: Camus breaks with Combat in the wake of financial difficulties and disagreements over what course of action the paper should take. In June his La Peste is published.

1948: Camus travels to Algeria. His play L’Etat de siége (translated as State of Siege, 1958) has its premiere on 27 October, starring Jean-Louis Barrault.

1949: Camus, in poor health, travels in South America from June to August. His play Les Justes (translated as The Just Assassins, 1958) is premièred on 15 December and stars Serge Reggiani and Casarés.

1950: Camus takes a year-long sick leave from Gallimard. He spends part of the time on the Riviera. Actuelles (Topical Pieces, or Timely Pieces), Camus’s first collection of journalistic work, is published. He and his family settle in an apartment in the rue Madame.

1951: An article by Camus on Friedrich Nietzsche is published in Sartre’s monthly Les Temps Modernes in August. Camus’s L’Homme revolte (translated as The Rebel, 1953) is published in October.

1952: In May a review of L’Homme rêvokê by Francis Jeanson is published in Les Temps Modernes. In it Jeanson accuses Camus of betraying the Left. Camus’s reply to Jeanson’s review is published in Les Temps Modernes in August. The reply takes the form of an impersonal letter to “Monsieur le Directeur” (Sartre) and is followed by replies from Camus and Jeanson.

1953: Francine is stricken with depression or some other mental illness, which becomes worse throughout the spring and summer. Camus’s Actuelles II, a second collection of journalistic pieces, is published. In the summer Camus acts as unofficial director of the Festival d’Art Dramatique in Angers, replacing the deceased Marcel Herrand. The offerings include the première of Camus’s adaptations of Pierre de Larivey’s Les Esprits (Spirits, 1579) and Pedro Calderon’s La devoción de la cruz (Devotion to the Cross, 1625). At a Paris rally on 30 June, Camus deplores the brutal suppression by Soviet forces of an uprising in East Germany by workers protesting the Communist regime. On 14 July, in a clash between Paris police and demonstrating Muslim workers, seven Muslims are killed and many others wounded; policemen are injured as well. Camus, in a letter to the newspaper Le Monde, demands an official investigation of the incident, including identification of those responsible for firing on the crowd.

1954: Camus’s L’Eté (translated as “Summer” in Lyrical and Critical) is published in the spring. In September, at a sale of manuscripts and books organized by North African writers in Paris to benefit the city of Orleansville, Algeria, which was heavily damaged by an earthquake, the manuscript of Camus’s L’Etat de siegè is sold for 15,000 francs (less than $100 at the time). On 1 November, Algerian insurgents attack police outposts and government offices in Algeria. That same month, Camus visits Italy for the first time since 1937. On 14 December he returns to Paris, having been ill during some of his stay in Italy.

1955: Camus flies to Algiers on 18 February, returning to Paris on 1 March. Dino Buzzati’s play Un Caso clinico (1953) is adapted for the stage by Camus as Un Cas intéressant and has its première in Paris on 12 March. Camus begins writing for the weekly political newsmagazine L’Express on 14 May, with his first major articles appearing in July. In September he meets William Faulkner in Paris.

1956: In Algeria, Camus makes a public speech on 23 January in which he calls for a civil truce to the fighting between the French and Algerian rebels. In a disagreement over editorial policy, he ceases contributing to L’Express in February. Following domestic difficulties in the spring, Camus moves out of the apartment he shares with Francine and the children in the rue Madame and takes a small apartment of his own. His La Chute (translated as The Fall, 1956) is published in May. Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun (1951), adapted for the theater by Camus, has its opening night on 22 September, with Catherine Sellers starring as Temple Drake. Uprisings in Budapest on 23 October mark the start of the Hungarian revolution against Soviet domination. Camus delivers a speech on 30 October at a meeting honoring the exiled Spanish republican statesman Salvador de Madariaga. In an appeal published in the 10 November edition of the newspaper Franc-Tireur, Camus calls for the United Nations to debate the genocide occurring in Hungary as a consequence of the Soviet crackdown, which began on 4 November.

1957: The Battle of Algiers, the most intense period of fighting in the Algerian war, begins in January, pitting French troops against a terrorist network solidly ensconced in the city. Camus’s L’Exil et le royaume (translated as Exile and the Kingdom, 1958) is published in March. His “Réflexions sur la guillotine” (translated as Reflections on the Guillotine: An Essay on Capital Punishment, 1959) is published in the Nouvelle Revue Francaise in June. On 17 October the Swedish Academy announces the award of the Nobel Prize in literature to Camus, the ninth French writer to receive the prize and the youngest recipient after Rudyard Kipling. On 10 December, after the prize ceremony and banquet at the Stockholm City Hall, Camus gives his short Nobel Prize speech. On 14 December he delivers a lecture at the University of Uppsala titled “L’Artiste et son temps” (translated as “The Artist and His Time,” 1961).

1958: Camus’s Actuelles III, a collection of articles and other texts concerning Algeria, is published in June; his health is poor. On 9 June he leaves with Casarés for Greece. In the autumn Camus buys a house in Lourmarin.

1959: Camus’s stage adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s novel The Possessed (1871) has its première on 30 January; he also directs. In November, working in Lourmarin, he drafts part of Le Premier Homme, which is published posthumously in its unfinished state in 1994 (translated as The First Man, 1995).

1960: On 4 January, while riding in a car driven by Michel Gallimard, nephew of the publisher Gaston Gallimard and a member of the publishing firm, Camus is killed instantly in an accident near Villeblevin. On 10 January, Gallimard dies while undergoing surgery as a consequence of the accident. Camus’s mother dies in September.

1962: French and Algerian representatives sign the Evian Accords on 18 March, bringing to an end the Algerian war and providing for Algerian independence. On 1 July, Algerian voters approve the terms of the Evian Accords, already ratified by a referendum in France, and thereby Algeria becomes an independent nation.

1970: Camus’s first wife, Simone, dies, having been married a second time and divorced.

1979: Francine Camus dies on 24 December.

About Albert Camus


To many readers both in France and elsewhere, Albert Camus is one of the most likable and approachable of mid-twentieth-century French authors. He may also be the most famous: while books by the well-known Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir...

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Camus at Work


Consideration of Camus at work in the early stages of his development, in which he made the transition from reader, philosophy stu-dent, notebook-jotter, and would-be novelist to author of original and publishable texts, can be guided by the following questions, asked by Jean...

(The entire section is 9453 words.)

Camus’s Era


Camus was born into the world of the French Empire. This was one of the principal historical facts affecting and impinging upon his life. Less extensive than the...

(The entire section is 9881 words.)

Camus’s Works



Titles, arranged chronologically, are listed normally by their first separate publication only. Many so-called èditions in France are merely reprintings, not revised, enlarged, or otherwise new versions. Certain significant republications are included. The earliest...

(The entire section is 19524 words.)

Camus on Camus


Of the various sources of statements by Camus on himself, his background, career, and work, including notebooks, prefaces, correspondence, interviews, and other public statements, the seven notebooks, published posthumously in three volumes called Carnets...

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Camus as Studied


Camus’s international image and worldwide fame spring chiefly, it would appear, from two sources. One is found in Camus the man, as documented by contemporary witnesses and photographs and made known in the facts of his biography, especially his ironic death in an automobile wreck, by which he seemed to be both prince and victim of the absurd that he made...

(The entire section is 6852 words.)

Study Questions

  1. How does Camus write his illness into his imaginative work? In what texts does he do this?
  2. Identify occurrences of the theme of guilt in Camus’s fiction and drama in addition to La Chute. How is the theme treated in each?
  3. What features of North African topography and climate are featured in L’Etranger, La Peste, “La Femme adultere,” and “L’Hote”? How are they connected, explicitly or implicitly, to the themes of each work?
  4. Sigmund Freud spoke of “civilization and its discontents.” What elements in Camus’s fiction, drama, and essays might constitute his version of “civilization and its discontents”?
  5. Trace...

(The entire section is 882 words.)

Selected Bibliography

The following is a list primarily of English-language works, but some works in French are also included for their historic importance, special value, or interest.


Beebe, Maurice. “Criticism of Albert Camus: A Selected Checklist of Studies in English.” Modem Fiction Stud ies, 10 (Autumn 1964): 303-314.

Gay-Crosier, Raymond. “Albert Camus.” In A Critical Bibliography of French Literature, volume 6: The Twentieth Century, edited by Douglas W. Alden and Richard A. Brooks, part 3. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1980.

Hoy, Peter C. Camus in English. Wymondham, U.K.: Brewhouse Press, 1968.

Roeming, Robert F. Camus: A Bibliography. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968.


Grenier, Roger. Albert Camus, soleil et ombre: Une biographie intellectuelle. Paris: Gallimard, 1987. Places the conception and realization of Camus’s works in a biographic context.

Lenzini, Jose. L’Algerie de Camus. Aix-en-Provence: Edisud, 1987. Includes photographs, drawings, and paintings of Algiers and other sites as Camus knew them, with commentaries by various figures and quotations from Camus. Conveys the feel of the city and identifies particular locations mentioned in Camus’s works.

Lottman, Herbert R. Albert Camus: A Biography. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1979.1 Revised edition, Corte Madera, Cal.: Gingko Press, 1997. A detailed sequential account of the author’s life and career; easier to consult and more comprehensive than Olivier Todd’s biography, Albert Camus: Une vie. General index; illustrated.

McCarthy, Patrick. Camus. New York: Random House, 1982. A highly readable biography that includes many pages of commentary on Camus’s works.

Todd, Olivier. Albert Camus: Une vie. Paris: Gallimard, 1996. Translated by Benjamin Ivry as Albert Camus: A Life. New York: Random House, 1997. Includes many pertinent, apt remarks and much information not available to Lottman when he was writing his biography. Todd includes quotations from unpublished letters but is less thorough than Lottman in some respects, for example, in discussing Camus’s childhood.


Akeroyd, Richard H. The Spiritual Quest of Albert Camus. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Portals Press, 1976. A short study, with index.

Albérés, R.-M., ed. Camus. Paris: Hachette, 1964. An invaluable collection of essays and statements. In French.

Amiot, Anne-Marie, and Jean-Francois Mattei, eds. Albert Camus et la philosophie. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1997. A collection of sixteen essays in French by Jean Sarrochi, Jaqueline Lévi-Valensi, and other eminent specialists.

Banks, G. V Camus: L’Etranger. London: Edward Arnold, 1976. Revised edition, Glasgow: University of Glasgow French and German Publications, 1992. A brief, lucid guide in English, with excellent observations.

Beauclair, Michelle. Albert Camus, Marguerite Duras, and the Legacy of Mourning. New York: Peter Lang, 1998. Brings together somewhat arbitrarily two French writers who dealt with death and mourning, and studies their attitudes, partly from a psychological perspective, using the theories of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. Duras’s LAmant and Camus’s L’Etranger, La Chute, and other works are considered.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Albert Camus. New York & Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1989. A collection of previously published articles and book chapters on various works by Camus from such eminent critics as Victor Brombert, Roger Shattuck, Paul de Man, and Rene Girard (whose commentary is quite idiosyncratic). Introduction by Bloom. All selections are in English.

Brée, Germaine. Camus and Sartre: Crisis and Commitment. New York: Delacorte, 1972. Compares thoughtfully the two writers and stresses their differences. Deals in particular with the question of ethics versus aesthetics.

Brée and Margaret Guiton. “Albert Camus: The Two Sides of the Coin.” In their An Age of Fiction: The French Novel from Gide to Camus. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1957. Revised and enlarged as The French Novel from Gide to Camus. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962. Emphasizes philosophical elements in the novels. Offers comparisons between Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre and Camus and Andre Malraux.

Brée, ed. Camus: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962. A useful, if dated, collection of essays, some by writers who knew Camus personally, on a wide range of topics, and often within students’ range.

Brombert, Victor. The Intellectual Hero: Studies in the French Novel, 1880-1955. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1960. Authoritative examinations, sometimes stressing the existentialist vein, of works by Camus and various con-temporaries.

Bronner, Stephen Eric. Camus: Portrait of a Moralist. Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. Includes a useful chronology and index.

Brosman, Catharine Savage, ed. Dictionary of Literary Biography, volume 72: French Novelists, 1930-1960. Detroit: Gale/Bruccoli Clark Layman, 1988. Includes lengthy essays, with bibliographies, on Camus and other major novelists of the period.

Burnier, Michel-Antoine. Choice of Action: The French Existentialists on the Political Front Line, translated by Bernard Murchland. New York: Vintage, 1969. Includes a chapter by Murchland titled “Sartre and Camus: The Anatomy of a Quarrel.”

Champigny, Robert. A Pagan Hero: An Interpretation of Meursault in Camus’ “The Stranger.” Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1970. A close, concentrated study, by a sympathetic critic, of Meursault and the narrative devices by which his story is told.

Cruickshank, John. Albert Camus and the Literature of Revolt. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960. A careful study of Camus’s fiction and drama by a knowledgeable critic.

Cruickshank, ed. French Literature and Its Background, volume 6: The Twentieth Century. London: Oxford University Press, 1970. Includes essays on Camus and Sartre and the novel of action, as well as background essays on French literature and World War II.

Davison, Ray. Camus: The Challenge of Dostoevsky. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1997. A substantial study, focusing on such themes as the absurd, revolt, nihilism, suicide, and other Camusian topics in connection with Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Davison considers Le Mythe de Sisyphe and other works, including Le Premier Homme. Particularly valuable for the discussion of Camus’s adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed. Bibliography and index.

Dunwoodie, Peter, and Edward J. Hughes. Constructing Memories: Camus, Algeria, and “Le Premier Homme.” Stirling, U.K.: Stirling French Publications, 1998.

Falk, Eugene H. Types of Thematic Structure: The Nature and Function of Motifs in Gide, Camus, and Sartre. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1967. Discusses the matic expression by means of structure, images, and motifs, in L’Etranger and works by others. Useful for principles of literary analysis.

Frohock, W. M. Style and Temper: Studies in French Fiction, 1925-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967. Includes sections on Camus and important contemporaries.

Gay-Crosier, Raymond. L’Envers d’un échec: étude sur le theatre d’Albert Camus. Paris: Lettres Modernes/ Minard, 1967. By an eminent Camus scholar. Extensive bibliography.

Guicharnaud, Jacques, and June Beckelman. Modern French Theatre from Giraudoux to Beckett. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961. Includes a chapter on the drama of Camus and Sartre.

Hanna, Thomas. The Thought and Art of Albert Camus. Chicago: Regnery, 1958. Though published decades ago, this sympathetic study by a professional philosopher remains valuable.

Hayat, Jeannine. Jules Roy: Ombre et présence d’Albert Camus. Paris & Caen: Minard, 2000. An important historical and thematic study emphasizing the connections between Camus and his friend Jules Roy.

Histoires d’un livre: L’Etranger d’Albert Camus: Catalogue edite a l’occasion de l’exposition inaugurale presentee au Centre National des lettres a Paris, du 13 octobre au 9 novembre 1990. Paris: IMEC, 1990. Traces the gestation of L’Etranger through notebooks, La Mort heureuse, and the manuscript of 1942; then surveys the critical reception and adaptations.

Hughes, Edward J. Camus: Le Premier Homme; La Peste. Glasgow: University of Glasgow French and German Publications, 1995. A perceptive introduction and commentary. In English.

Jones, Rosemarie. Camus’ “L’Etranger” and “La Chute.” London: Grant & Cutler, 1980. An introduction for students.

Keefe, Terry, and Edmund Smyth. Auto-biography and the Existential Self: Studies in Modern French Writing. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995. Deals with Camus and several con-temporaries.

Kellman, Steven G. The Plague: Fiction and Resistance. New York: Twayne, 1993. A good English-language guide to the novel, furnishing con-text and other useful materials as well as a reading of the work.

Kellman, ed. Approaches to Teaching Camus’s “The Plague.” New York: Modern Language Association, 1995. Despite the suggestion that this is a handbook for teachers only, some chapters are suitable for stu-dents as well. Good bibliography.

King, Adele. Camus. Edinburgh & London: Oliver ’ Boyd, 1964. A brief but worthy introduction, well balanced, focusing on Camus’s fiction and thought and including a survey of other criticism.

King, ed. Camus’s “L’Etranger”: Fifty Years On. London: Macmillan, 1992. Includes an introduction and essays, all in English, on a wide variety of topics, including the reception of L’Etranger abroad, Camus’s depiction of Arabs, ethnic and colonial questions, women in L’Etranger, and comparative studies.

Knapp, Bettina L., ed. Critical Essays on Albert Camus. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1988. Comprises new essays written for this volume and reprinted pieces from various periods, some by Rene Char, Sartre, and other well-known commentators. All in English.

Krieger, Murray. The Tragic Vision: Variations on a Theme in Literary Interpretation. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1960. Includes discussions of Camus and several of his contemporaries.

Lazare, Donald. The Unique Creation of Albert Camus. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1973. A broad-based study directed toward American readers.

Lebesque, Morvan. Camus. Paris: Seuil, 1963. In French. Not suitable for reference (no index, and the chronology has errors) but valuable for its sympathetic approach to Camus as a man and a writer, viewed from the perspective of the early 1960s. Includes many photographs not often reproduced elsewhere.

Lehan, Richard. A Dangerous Crossing: French Literary Existentialism and the Modern Novel. Carbondale & Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press/ London & Amsterdam: Feffer & Simons, 1973. Examines Sartre and Camus, then American novelists in light of their work.

Maquet, Albert. The Invincible Summer, translated by Herma Briffault. New York: George Braziller, 1958. Translation of an early general study, treating all of Camus’s main works.

McBride, James. Albert Camus: Philosopher and Litterateur. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. A study of Camus’s conception of the absurd, as illustrated in L’Etranger and Le Mythe de Sisyphe, from a Christian viewpoint. Special attention is paid to the philosophies of St. Augustine and Friedrich Nietzsche and their connections with Camus. Includes an English translation of Camus’s thesis.

Moeller, Charles. Litterature du XX’ siecle et christianisme. volume 1: Le Silence de Dieu. Paris ’ Tournai: Casterman, 1953. Although dated, a valuable study because of its highly sympathetic treatment of Camus by a Catholic critic.

O’Brien, Conor Cruise. Albert Camus of Europe and Africa. New York: Viking, 1970. A short discussion of L’Etranger, La Peste, and La Chute. Critical of Camus’s response to the Algerian crisis and views on colonialism, but tactful in judging him.

Parker, Emmett. Albert Camus: The Artist in the Arena. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1965. A responsible and thoughtful study that surveys, among other topics, Camus’s views on justice in Algeria.

Roblès, Emmanuel. Albert Camus et la treve civile. Philadelphia: Celfan Edition Monographs, 1988. A brief but invaluable account by close friend of Camus who witnessed his controversial visit to Algiers in 1956.

Roston, Jacqueline Gabrielle. Camus’s Récit “La Chute”: A Rewriting Through Dante’s “Commedia.” New York: Peter Lang, 1985. Assuming the presence of one masterpiece in another, Roston examines connections between Dante’s great poem and Camus’s novel, using also, as context, the poetics of Paul Valery. Photoreproduction of a typescript.

Royle, Peter. The Sartre-Camus Controversy: A Literary and Philosophical Critique. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1982. A short study, including chapters on L’Etranger, La Peste, L’Homme revoke, and works by Sartre. No index.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. “Albert Camus.” In his Situations, IV. Paris: Gallimard, 1964. Reprint of an article in France-Observateur, no. 505 (7 January 1960). Translated in Critical Essays on Albert Camus, edited by Knapp.

Sartre. “Explication de L’Etranger.” In his Situations, I. Paris: Gallimard, 1947. Reprint of an article in Cahiers du Sud, no. 253 (1943); translated by Annette Michelson in Sartre, Literary and Philosophical Essays. London: Rider, 1955. Translation reprinted in Camus: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Brée.

Sartre. “Rséponse a Albert Camus.” In his Situations, IV. Paris: Gallimard, 1964. Reprint of an article in Les Temps Modernes, no. 82 (August 1952).

Showalter, English, Jr. Exiles and Strangers: A Reading of Camus’s “Exile and the Kingdom.” Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1984. A valuable study of the short-story collection.

Showalter. The Stranger: Humanity and the Absurd. Boston: Twayne, 1989. Comments on English translations, surveys the critical reception, and offers a reading of L’Etranger.

Sprintzen, David. Camus: A Critical Examination. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988. A lengthy study with a bibliography and index.

Thody, Philip. Albert Camus: A Study of His Work. New York: Grove, 1957. A careful and thoughtful study of Camus’s fiction, drama, and essays.

Zyla, Wolodymyr T., and Wendell M. Aycock, eds. Albert Camus’ Literary Milieu: Arid Lands. Lubbock: Inter-departmental Committee on Comparative Literature, Texas Tech University, 1976. Essays by Brian Fitch, Anna Balakian, Thomas Bishop, and others on connections between Camus and Samuel Beck-ett, Voltaire, Valery, the Flemish painters Hubert and Jan van Eyck, and additional topics.


Albert Camus. Paris: Minard, 1968- . Revue des Lettres Modernes series. An irregularly appearing serial devoted to French-language scholarship on Camus, with a table of contents at the end of each volume. The “Carnet bibliographique” rubric, which has appeared irregularly, includes up-to-date bibliographic information. Eighteen volumes have been published through 2000.

Archives Albert Camus. Paris: Minard, 1970-. Occasional volumes in the Archives des Lettres Modernes series.

Cahiers Albert Camus. Paris: Gallimard, 1971-. A series of miscellaneous volumes, including primary texts.


Ageron, Charles-Robert. Modern Algeria: A History from 1830 to the Present, translated and edited by Michael Brett. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1991. A useful and reliable handbook, clearly written and organized, by an eminent specialist. Good bibliography.

Audisio, Gabriel. L’Opera fabuleux. Paris:Julliard, 1970. A memoir of life in Algiers by a writer somewhat older than Camus who served as a mentor to him and others.

Beauvoir, Simone de. La Force des choses. Paris: Gallimard, 1963. Translated by Richard Howard as Force of Circumstance. New York: Putnam, 1965. Depicts in a personal, often biased manner much of the literary scene in Paris and political and social events from 1945 through 1962; deals with Camus and the dispute over L’Homme révolte.

Beauvoir. Les Mandarins. Paris: Gallimard, 1954. Translated by Leonard M. Friedman as The Mandarins. Cleveland: World, 1956. In fictional form based considerably on fact, gives a sense of life in Paris from the last months of the war through its after-math; portrays Camus to some degree under the guise of Henri, a journalist.

Behr, Edward. The Algerian Problem. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1961. Reprint, Westport, Conn.: Green-wood Press, 1976. Gives a brief history of Algeria from 1830, then concentrates on the political and military situation in the twentieth century, through 1960.

Brogan, D. W The French Nation: From Napoleon to Petain. London: Hamilton, 1957. A thoughtful survey of modern French society by a highly respected scholar. Index but no bibliography.

Brosman, Catharine Savage. Art as Testimony: The Work of Jules Roy. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1989. A study of one of Camus’s closest friends, also an Algerian, which sheds light on the military and political situations in Algeria and Camus’s positions on them.

Brosman. Existential Fiction. Detroit: Gale/ Manly, 2000. A general introduction to the background of existentialism and to the existential dimension of literature as a whole, as well as a survey of French existential writing, with sections on Beauvoir, Sartre, Camus, and several others.

Brosman, ed. Dictionary of Twentieth Cen tury Culture: French Culture, 1900-1975. Detroit: Gale/Manly 1994. Includes short articles on Camus’s literary contemporaries, as well as the Left Bank, World War II, the Occupation, the Algerian war, French theaters and directors, French newspapers, and major political figures.

Caute, David. Communism and the French Intellectuals: 1914-1960. New York: Macmillan, 1964. An authoritative study, still valuable despite its date. Treats such topics as nationalism and colonialism, over which the French intellectuals (including Communists) fought. Several references to Camus.

Chambard, Claude. The Maquis: A History of the French Resistance Movement, translated by Elaine P. Halperin. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1976. Traces the early stages of the Resistance and the spread of Resistance networks. Clearly written, with many interesting facts, anecdotes, and sketches of important figures.

Dobrez, L. A. C. The Existential and its Exits: Literary and philosophical perspectives on the works of Beckett, Ionesco, Genet & Pinter. London: Athlone / New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986. A philosophical examination, dealing with such concepts as angst, being, nothingness, and authenticity, and relating the authors named in the title to Camus and others.

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov, translated by David Magar-shack, 2 volumes. Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1958.

Dostoyevsky. The Devils (The Possessed), translated by Magarshack. Baltimore: Penguin, 1962.

Dostoyevsky. Notes from Underground, translated and annotated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Knopf, 1993.

Dunwoodie, Peter. Writing French Algeria. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. Deals with literary treatments of Algeria in French from the Romantics through the Ecole d’Alger, and includes post-colonial criticism of attitudes displayed in these writings. Scholarly but quite readable.

Fowlie, Wallace. Dionysus in Paris: A Guide to Contemporary French Theater. New York: Meridian, 1960. Useful for a short sketch of Camus as a dramatist and glimpses of his plays as produced during his lifetime, along with general information on modern French drama.

Furniss, Edgar S., Jr. France, Troubled Ally. New York: Praeger, 1960. Covers the Fourth and Fifth Republics, with useful chapters on Algeria and the Algerian war.

Gordon, David C. The Passing of French Algeria. London: Oxford University Press, 1966. A mid-length history of Algeria, the war, and the aftermath of the conflict, by a highly regarded historian. Includes profiles of some indigenous Algerian writers, including Jean Amrouche, Mouloud Feraoun, and Kateb Yacine.

Hazareesingh, Sudhir. “The Political Roles of Intellectuals.” In his Political Traditions in Modern France. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. An erudite but readable study, mentioning Camus, Sartre, and many other well-known figures and providing the background to their activity.

Home, Alistair. A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962. New York: Viking, 1978. A lengthy, detailed study for those wishing to pursue their reading beyond the basic facts of the Algerian conflict. Well-researched.

Judt, Tony. Past Imperfect: French Intellectuals, 1944-1956. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992. An outstanding study of politics and thought in the period, viewed from many angles and conveying brilliantly the intellectual atmosphere while examining the positions of Camus, Sartre, Catholic intellectuals, and many other figures on such questions as postwar purges in France, Soviet expansionism, trials, and labor camps.

Kaufmann, Walter, ed. Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre. New York: Meridian, 1956. Still useful, despite its age. Includes an introduction and translated selections from such writers as Dostoyevsky, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus.

Keegan, John. The Second World War. New York: Viking, 1989. A lucid history by one of the world’s foremost authorities. Parts 1 and 4 deal with the war in the West (France, the Low Countries, England, and Italy). Illustrated; index.

Knight, Everett W. Literature Considered as Philosophy: The French Example. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1957. An excellent handbook on the connections between philosophy and twentieth-century French literature, with chapters or sections on Camus, Edmund Husserl, Andre Gide, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Malraux, Sartre, and associated topics.

Lawson, Don. The French Resistance. New York: Wanderer, 1984.

Lejeune, Philippe. On Autobiography, translated by Katherine Leary; edited, with a foreword, by Paul John Eakin. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989. Comprises three chapters from Lejeune’s Le Pacte autobiographique (1975), an important study of the genre of autobiography as a critical watershed, as well as selections from other texts.

Lichtheim, George. Marxism in Modern France. New York: Columbia University Press, 1966. An authoritative and readable examination of the place of Marxism in French thought in the middle of the twentieth century and of the activities of the Communist Party and fellow travelers.

Lottmann, Herbert R. The Purge. New York: Morrow, 1986. A clearly written study of anti-Nazi purges and punishments, or l’epuration, by the French, starting with trials and executions in Algeria in 1943 and going through the 1950s. Several references to Camus.

McBride, William L, ed. Sartre’s French Contemporaries and Enduring Influences. New York ’ London: Garland, 1997. Comprises twenty-one highly philosophical essays by respected scholars on various topics connected to French existential writing and on such figures as Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gilles Deleuze, Sartre, Beauvoir, and Camus, who is treated as a thinker (by Thomas Hanna) and as an adversary of Sartre and Francis Jeanson.

Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized. Introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre. Translated by Howard Greenfeld. Boston: Beacon, 1965. Examines colonialism from the viewpoint of an indigenous North African, a contemporary of Camus’s whose approach to the topic contrasts with that of Camus. The French original of this essay, now considered a classic, dates from 1957.

Les Pieds Noirs. Foreword by Emmanuel Robles. Paris: Philippe Lebaud, 1982. An illustrated collection of essays concerning Algerians of European ancestry of all classes, their history from the nineteenth through the twentieth century, and their customs and achievements.

Schoenbrun, David. Soldiers of the Night: The Story of the French Resistance. New York: Dutton, 1980.

Smith, Colin. Contemporary French Philosophy: A Study in Norms and Values. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1964. Includes a section on Camus’s thought, with philosophical commentary on L’Etranger and La Peste.

Sulzberger, C. L. World War II. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. Chapters 24 and 40 relate the blitzkrieg (lightning war) of May-June 1940 and the struggle to liberate Western Europe (1944’ 1945). Maps on pp. 230-231 are particularly useful. Illustrated; index.

Talbott, John. War Without a Name: France in Algeria, 1954-1962. New York: Knopf, 1980. An examination of the Algerian war. Discusses, among other topics, the attitudes of the French intellectuals toward the war, the views of prominent Catholics, and the issue of civil disobedience.


Albert Camus: A Self-Portrait. Learning Corp. of America, 1972 . Nineteen-minute movie directed by Fred Orjain, featuring Camus talking about French theater and scenes of Algeria.


Most of Camus’s papers remain in the possession of his children, Catherine and Jean Camus, and are not available for inspection except with their permission. Camus’s portion of his unpublished correspondence with Jules Roy is in the Bibliotheque Saint-Charles in Marseilles; Roy’s portion, formerly in the 1MEC archives in Paris, has been transferred to the Fonds Camus of the Bibliotheque Mejane Aix-en-Provence. Two other sets of correspondence (partly in originals, partly in photocopies) are in the Special Collections division of the library at the University of Florida, Gainesville. See articles by Raymond Gay-Crosier summarizing their contents: “Une Correspondance inedite de 1’epoque du Theatre de 1’Equipe,” Albert Camus, 14 (1991): 165-172 (letters to Francoise Maeurer); and “Encore une correspondance inedite: Albert Camus-Yvonne Ducailar, 1939-1946,” Albert Camus, 15 (1993): 183-196. A typescript of Camus’s unpublished handwritten corrections of 1939 and 1941 for Caligula is held in the same collection. Some Camus papers are in the collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin.


Albert Camus Critical Interpretation Home-page. This site features several English translations of short essays by Camus, including an excerpt from his essay “Between Yes and No,” in a readable format. It also offers student essays on aspects of Camus’s work, including comparative approaches.

Albert Camus Discussion Group. This discussion group is devoted to information about Camus’s life, his works, and existential philosophy.

Albert Camus Photo Gallery. Several photos of Camus as a child and as an adult can be viewed here.

Albert Camus: A Self-Portrait. Learning Corp. of America, 1972. Nineteen-minute movie directed by Fred Orjain, featuring Camus talking about French theater and scenes of Algeria.

Raymond Gay-Crosier summarizing their contents: “Une Correspondance inedite de 1’epoque du Theatre de 1’Equipe,” Albert Camus, 14 (1991): 165-172 (letters to Francoise Maeurer); and “Encore une correspondance inedite: Albert Camus-Yvonne Ducailar, 1939-1946,” Albert Camus, 15 (1993): 183-196. A typescript of Camus’s unpublished handwritten corrections of 1939 and 1941 for Caligula is held in the same collection. Some Camus papers are in the collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin.

Albert Camus: The Stranger. This site includes a biography of Camus, a plot summary of L’Etranger, and a few excerpts from Camus’s writings. Its best feature is a definition of existentialism, with links to biographical entries on philosophers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre.

Caligula: A Play by Albert Camus. Critical reactions to Camus’s play and various productions of it are featured on this site. It also focuses on the figure of Caligula, both as he appears in the play and as he is viewed by historians.

Camus Studies Association. This site is devoted to the activities of the Camus Studies Association and provides information on membership. The Association’s vice president, Raymond Gay-Crosier, maintains a bibliography on the site. Accessible in French or English, the bibliography covers books and articles published on Camus in the 1990s.

The Existence of Albert Camus. A well-organized source for information on Camus’s life and writing, this site includes a bibliography of his works, as well as excerpts of criticism from published sources and student essays. The site also features a useful listing of quotations from Camus arranged by subject. It has extensive links to other sites and to articles about Camus from American newspapers such as The New York Times and The Boston Globe, including an interview with the writer’s daughter, Catherine Camus.

The Existence of Albert Camus Forum. This is a discussion group allowing participants to exchange comments on Camus’s literary and philosophical writings.

Existentialism: Albert Camus. This site provides information on Camus’s life and works, including a chronology and a list of quotations with their sources. It also features a few links to sites on other existentialist writers.

The First Man. Part of a series of web pages designed to encourage book clubs, this site provides questions to enhance discussions of Camus’s unfinished novel. It includes a bibliography of related fiction and nonfiction by other authors.

The Stranger Review Questions. This site consists of comprehension questions to aid teachers covering The Stranger in the classroom.


1. There is a subsequent printing of the Doubleday edition, also dated 1979, that is paginated differently from the first printing. All page references in this volume are keyed to the first printing.