(1913 – 1960)
Albert Camus (Dréan, Algeria, November 7, 1913 – Villeblevin, France, January 4, 1960) was a French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay The Rebel that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom. Although often cited as a proponent of existentialism, the philosophy with which Camus was associated during his own lifetime, he rejected this particular label. In an interview with Jeanine Delpeche, published in the periodical Les Nouvelles Litteraires on November 15, 1945, Camus rejected any ideological associations: “No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked …”
Camus was born in French Algeria to a Pied-Noir family. He studied at the University of Algiers, where he was goalkeeper for the university team until he contracted tuberculosis (TB) in 1930. In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement after his split with Garry Davis’s Citizens of the World movement, of which the surrealist André Breton was also a member. The formation of this group, according to Camus, was intended to denounce two ideologies found in both the UssR and the USA regarding their idolatry of technology.
Camus was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature “for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times”.
Major Awards and Honors
Nobel Prize for Literature
Novels and Novellas
- L’Étranger (1942)
(The Stranger; The Outsider)
- La Peste (1947)
- La Chute (1956)
- L’Exil et le Royaume (1957)
(Exile and the Kingdom)
- La Mort Heureuse (1971)
(A Happy Death)
Plays and Theatrical Adaptations
- Révolte dans les Asturies (1936)
(The Revolt in Austria)
- Caligula (1944)
- Le Malentendu (1944)
(The Misunderstanding; Cross Purposes)
- Les Esprits (1946)
Adaptation from Pierre de Larivey.
- L’Etat de Siège (1948)
(State of Siege)
- Les Justes (1950)
(The Just Assassins)
- Le Temps du Mépris (Days of Wrath)
– Adaptation from André Malraux.
- La Dévotion la Croix (1953)
(Devotion to the Cross)
– Adaptation from Pedro Calderón de la Barca.
- Un Cas Intéressant (1953)
(An Interesting Case)
– Adaptation from Dino Buzzati.
- Requiem pour une Nonne (1956)
(Requiem for a Nun)
– Adaptation from William Faulkner.
- Le Chevalier d’Olmedo (1957)
(The Knight of Olmedo)
– Adaptation from Lope de Vega.
- Les Possédés (1959)
– Adaptation from Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Essays, Articles and Addresses
- L’Envers et l’Endroit (1937)
(The Wrong Side and the Right Side)
- Noces (1938)
Jointly published with L’Été in English as Algerian Notebook.
- Le Mythe de Sisyphe (1942)
(The Myth of Sisyphus)
- Ni Victimes, ni Bourreaux (1946)
(Neither Victims Nor Executioners)
- L’Homme Révolté (1951)
- L’Été (1954)
Jointly published with Noces in English as Algerian Notebook.
- Réflexions sur la Guillotine
(Reflections on the Guillotine)
In: Réflexions sur la Peine Capitale (1957)
- Discours de Suède (1958)
- Actuelles I – Chroniques 1944-1948 (1950)
- Actuelles II – Chroniques 1948-1953 (1953)
- Actuelles III – Chroniques Algériennes 1939-1958 (1958)
- Resistance, Rebellion and Death (1960)
- Lyrical and Critical Essays (1967)
- Selected Essays and Notebooks (1970)
- Between Hell and Reason: Essays from the Resistance Newspaper Combat, 1944-1947 (1991)
Correspondence and Memoirs
- Lettres à un Ami Allemand (1945)
(Letters to a German Friend)
- Carnets, 1935-42 (1963)
Carnets, 1942-51 (1966)
Jointly published as: Notebooks 1935-1951 and Youthful Writings.
- Correspondance avec Jean Grenier (1981)
- Le Premier Homme (1995)
(The First Man)
Memoir; completed and published posthumously.
- Correspondance avec Pascal Pia, 1939-1947 (2000)
A Selection of Quotes
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
Noces / L’Été (Algerian Notebook)
“Au milieu de l’hiver, j’apprenais enfin qu’il y avait en moi un été invincible.”
(“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”)
The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays: The Minotaur
“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”
As quoted in “Visions From Earth” by James R. Miller:
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
“Where there is no hope, it is incumbent on us to invent it.”
“It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.”