Albert Camus

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Introduction

(Literary Masters)

Albert Camus

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

Chronology

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,...

(The entire section is 72,258 words.)