Albert Camus was born of a peasant mother of Spanish descent and an Alsatian father who was killed in World War I. He received a degree in philosophy from the University of Algiers in 1936. He had a brief membership in the Communist Party at that time. He pursued a varied career as actor, producer, journalist, and schoolteacher. An active participant in the French underground during World War II, he first came into national prominence after the war, when it was revealed that he had been the editor of the famed clandestine newspaper Combat. He made many political and literary enemies after the war by chastising the Communists and his erstwhile friend and fellow writer Jean-Paul Sartre. A position as editor in a publishing house, lecture tours in the United States and South America, and government posts followed until his untimely death in an automobile accident in 1960.
Albert Camus was born in Mondovi, Algeria, on November 7, 1913, to Lucien Camus and the former Catherine Sintès, a frail, unlettered woman of Spanish ancestry. Following the death of the elder Camus in battle during 1914, Albert grew up among his mother’s family in Belcourt, a working-class suburb of Algiers. A talented scholarship student, Camus soon earned the interest and attention of various gifted teachers, including the writer and scholar Jean Grenier, with whom Camus was to maintain an often problematical friendship for the remainder of his life. At twenty, with one year left to go at the University of Algiers, Camus married Simone Hié, an attractive, brilliant, but highly unstable young woman who was also a known...
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Although he was born in the interior village of Mondovi, near Constantine, Algeria, Albert Camus was actually brought up in the big city, in a working-class suburb of Algiers. His widowed mother, who was from Algiers, took her two sons back there to live after her husband was killed early in World War I. Albert, the younger of the two sons, was not yet a year old when his father died, and he was to grow up with a need for relationships with older men, apparently to replace the father he never had. It was important to Camus that his father’s forebears had immigrated by choice to Algeria from France in the nineteenth century, since it made him feel that his roots were authentically both French and Algerian. Because his...
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Camus went to Paris in 1940 to work as a journalist. In 1943, he became a reader for the publishing firm Gallimard. He worked there until the end of his life to subsidize his writing. His writings can be divided into three periods: first, the period of the absurd or the antihero; second, the period of man in revolt, or the hero; and finally, the period of man on the earth. During the period of the absurd, which is best exemplified by the novel The Stranger, man kills and is killed in turn by the state in a relatively senseless existence. During the second period, characters who are larger than life defy the world’s absurdity and find meaning in life. In both The Plague and...
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Albert Camus (kah-MEW) was born on November 7, 1913, in Mondovi, a village in the interior of Algeria, which, since 1830, had been under the administration of France. Camus’s father, Lucien, was a winery worker; his mother, Catherine Sintès, could not read or write. Shortly after the outbreak of World War I, Lucien Camus was mobilized in a North African regiment. Wounded at the First Battle of the Marne, he died on October 11, 1914, before Albert’s first birthday. Catherine took the family to Belcourt, a working-class section of Algiers, to live with her mother, Marie Catherine Sintès. Catherine, who worked in a munitions factory and then as a cleaning woman, suffered a stroke that left her deaf and partially paralyzed....
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More than most other authors, Albert Camus both reflected and shaped his zeitgeist, the spirit of an era plagued by tyranny, invasion, genocide, and colonialism. A child of the Algerian proletariat living among the Parisian intelligentsia and writing about human alienation, he stood both inside and outside history. He was a champion of lucidity and honesty in an age whose public rhetoric camouflaged savage realities. The sparely styled fiction, drama, and essays that Camus produced during a relatively brief career offer the paradox of tonic disillusionment, an exhilaration over candid contemplation of the absurd. In North America, perhaps even more than in France, Camus remains read and loved long after the works of many of his...
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Albert Camus (kah-mew), the Algerian-born French writer of novels, short stories, dramas, essays, and journalism, was one of the most significant literary figures of the twentieth century. He recoiled from the dogmas of totalitarianism and organized religion that dictated human behavior, from existentialism’s despairing emphasis on anxiety and forlornness, and from nihilism’s insistence that human behavior did not matter. Instead, he achieved a literature of exigent moral questioning that clung to a Hellenistic faith in individualism, seeking a formula through which a person could live in dignity and decency within a godless, irrational, “absurd” universe.
Camus grew up in poverty. After his father died of war...
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