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.