albert camus


  • [72] His position drew much criticism from the left and later postcolonial literary critics, such as Edward Said, who were opposed to European imperialism, and charged that
    Camus’s novels and short stories are plagued with colonial depictions – or conscious erasures – of Algeria’s Arab population.

  • Some consider Camus’s work to show him to be an existentialist, even though he himself firmly rejected the term throughout his lifetime.

  • [96] Although Camus has been linked to anti-Soviet communism, reaching as far as anarcho-syndicalism, some neo-liberals have tried to associate him with their policies; for
    instance, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested that his remains be moved to the Panthéon, an idea that was criticised by Camus’s surviving family and angered many on the Left.

  • After this he began working on his autobiography Le Premier Homme (The First Man) in an attempt to examine “moral learning”.

  • [91] Camus also delineates the difference between revolution and rebellion and notices that history has shown that the rebel’s revolution might easily end up as an oppressive
    regime; he therefore places importance on the morals accompanying the revolution.

  • [38] William Faulkner wrote his obituary, saying, “When the door shut for him he had already written on this side of it that which every artist who also carries through life
    with him that one same foreknowledge and hatred of death, is hoping to do: I was here.

  • Camus had predicted that this unfinished novel based on his childhood in Algeria would be his finest work.

  • [88] The turning point in Camus’s attitude to the Absurd occurs in a collection of four letters to an anonymous German friend, written between July 1943 and July 1944.

  • Hence, he was called pied-noir, ”black foot”—a slang term for French who were born in Algeria—and his identity and his poor background had a substantial effect on his later

  • By 1943 he was known because of his earlier work.

  • [21] Upsetting many of his colleagues and contemporaries in France with his rejection of communism, the book brought about the final split with Sartre.

  • First, there is the metaphysical rebellion, which is “the movement by which man protests against his condition and against the whole of creation.”

  • [67] His 1938 address on “The New Mediterranean Culture” represents Camus’s most systematic statement of his views at this time.

  • [41] The books in the first cycle were published between 1942 and 1944, but the theme was conceived earlier, at least as far back as 1936.

  • [80] David Sherman and others also suggest the rivalry between Sartre and Camus also played a part in his rejection of existentialism.

  • [50] His critique of the USSR caused him to clash with others on the political left, most notably with his on-again, off-again friend Jean-Paul Sartre.

  • In Paris, he almost completed his “first cycle” of works dealing with the absurd and the meaningless—the novel L’Étranger (The Outsider (UK), or The Stranger (US)), the philosophical
    essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus) and the play Caligula.

  • Life Early years and education[edit] A 20th-century postcard of the University of Algiers Albert Camus was born on 7 November 1913 in a working-class neighbourhood in Mondovi
    (present-day Dréan), in French Algeria.

  • His paternal grandfather, along with many others of his generation, had moved to Algeria for a better life during the first decades of the 19th century.

  • “[52] The reality of the postwar tribunals soon changed his mind: Camus publicly reversed himself and became a lifelong opponent of capital punishment.

  • After the war, he was a celebrity figure and gave many lectures around the world.

  • There he began writing his second cycle of works, this time dealing with revolt—a novel La Peste (The Plague) and a play Le Malentendu (The Misunderstanding).

  • [78] He also said his work, The Myth of Sisyphus, was a criticism of various aspects of existentialism.

  • [54] He, however, opposed revolution, separating the rebel from the revolutionary and believing that the belief in “absolute truth”, most often assuming the guise of history
    or reason, inspires the revolutionary and leads to tragic results.

  • [46] Works of Camus by genre and cycle, according to Matthew Sharpe[47] 1937–42 Sisyphus Alienation, exile The Stranger (L’Étranger) Caligula, The Misunderstanding (Le Malentendu)
    1943–52 Prometheus Rebellion The Plague (La Peste) The State of Siege (L’État de siège) The Just (Les Justes) 1952–58 Guilt, the fall; exile & the kingdom; John the Baptist, Christ The Fall (La Chute) Adaptations of The Possessed (Dostoevsky);
    Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun 1958– Nemesis The Kingdom The First Man (Le Premier Homme) Political stance Camus was a moralist; he claimed morality should guide politics.

  • Camus’s thoughts on the Absurd begin with his first cycle of books and the literary essay The Myth of Sisyphus, (Le Mythe de Sisyphe), his major work on the subject.

  • [84] The Absurd is created because man, who is placed in an unintelligent universe, realises that human values are not founded on a solid external component; or as Camus himself
    explains, the Absurd is the result of the “confrontation between human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.

  • “[39] Literary career[edit] Camus crowning Stockholm’s Lucia on 13 December 1957, three days after accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature Camus’s first publication was a
    play called Révolte dans les Asturies (Revolt in the Asturias) written with three friends in May 1936.

  • [55] Camus opposed political violence, tolerating it only in rare and very narrowly defined instances, as well as revolutionary terror which he accused of sacrificing innocent
    lives on the altar of history.

  • [4] During that time, he was only able to study part-time.

  • Of the French collaboration with the German occupiers, he wrote: “Now the only moral value is courage, which is useful here for judging the puppets and chatterboxes who pretend
    to speak in the name of the people.

  • He wrote a series of articles reporting on conditions, and advocating for French reforms and concessions to the demands of the Algerian people.

  • [48] Active in the French Resistance to the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, Camus wrote for and edited the Resistance journal Combat.

  • He wrote: “There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide.”

  • Camus rebuked those sympathetic to the Soviet model and their “decision to call total servitude freedom”.

  • His father, Lucien Camus, a poor French agricultural worker, died in the Battle of the Marne in 1914 during World War I. Camus never knew him.

  • [43] Camus began his work on the second cycle while he was in Algeria, in the last months of 1942, just as the Germans were reaching North Africa.

  • [17] Camus took an active role in the underground resistance movement against the Germans during the French Occupation.

  • [14] World War II, Resistance and Combat[edit] Soon after Camus moved to Paris, the outbreak of World War II began to affect France.

  • After his death, interest in Camus followed the rise (and diminution) of the New Left.

  • [60] In one, often misquoted incident, Camus confronted an Algerian critic during his 1957 Nobel Prize acceptance speech in Stockholm, rejecting the false equivalence of justice
    with revolutionary terrorism: “People are now planting bombs in the tramways of Algiers.

  • He thought that the importance of history held by Marx and Sartre was incompatible with his belief in human freedom.

  • In May 1937 he wrote his first book, L’Envers et l’Endroit (Betwixt and Between, also translated as The Wrong Side and the Right Side).

  • [9] Camus drew parallels among football, human existence, morality, and personal identity.

  • He also visited Algeria once more, only to leave disappointed by the continued oppressive colonial policies, which he had warned about many times.

  • He continued writing for the paper after the liberation of France.

  • [31][32] Camus described her as “the only great spirit of our times”.

  • [71] Although favoring greater Algerian autonomy or even federation, though not full-scale independence, he believed the Pieds-Noirs and Arabs could co-exist.

  • [13] In 1938, Camus began working for the leftist newspaper Alger républicain (founded by Pascal Pia) as he had strong anti-fascist feelings, and the rise of fascist regimes
    in Europe was worrying him.

  • “[75] Philosophy Existentialism[edit] Even though Camus is mostly connected to absurdism,[76] he is routinely categorized as an existentialist, a term he rejected on several

  • Weil had great influence on his philosophy,[29][30] since he saw her writings as an “antidote” to nihilism.

  • [19] Post-World War II After the War, Camus lived in Paris with Faure, who gave birth to twins, Catherine and Jean in 1945.

  • [65] Role in Algeria Born in Algeria to French parents, Camus was familiar with the institutional racism of France against Arabs and Berbers, but he was not part of a rich

  • The four letters were published as Lettres à un ami allemand (Letters to a German Friend) in 1945, and were included in the collection Resistance, Rebellion, and Death.

  • In 1942, he published the story of a man living an absurd life in L’Étranger.

  • [48] Camus was also strongly critical of Marxism-Leninism, especially in the case of the Soviet Union, which he considered totalitarian.

  • During that period he composed four Lettres à un Ami Allemand (Letters to a German Friend), explaining why resistance was necessary.

  • Rather, he proposes we accept that absurdity is a part of our lives and live with it.

  • [22] Camus was a strong supporter of European integration in various marginal organisations working towards that end.

  • Camus was politically active; he was part of the left that opposed the Soviet Union because of its totalitarianism.

  • Translated from French, it reads: “From the General Council of the Yonne Department, in homage to the writer Albert Camus whose remains lay in vigil at the Villeblevin town
    hall on the night of 4 to 5 January 1960” The monument to Camus built in Villeblevin, where he died in a car crash on 4 January 1960 Camus died on 4 January 1960 at the age of 46, in a car accident near Sens, in Le Grand Fossard in the small
    town of Villeblevin.

  • While he did not deny that morals change over time, he rejected the classical Marxist view that historical material relations define morality.

  • Camus tried to flee but finally joined the French Resistance where he served as editor-in-chief at Combat, an outlawed newspaper.

  • He lived in very poor conditions as a child but was a citizen of France and as such was entitled to citizens’ rights; members of the country’s Arab and Berber majority were

  • Upon his arrival in Paris, he started working as a journalist and editor of the banned newspaper Combat.

  • [42] With this cycle, Camus aims to pose a question on the human condition, discuss the world as an absurd place, and warn humanity of the consequences of totalitarianism.

  • According to him the answer is yes, as the experience and awareness of the Absurd creates the moral values and also sets the limits of our actions.

  • [23] Camus had numerous affairs, particularly an irregular and eventually public affair with the Spanish-born actress María Casares, with whom he had extensive correspondence.

  • In the introduction, where he examines the metaphysics of rebellion, he concludes with the phrase “I revolt, therefore we exist” implying the recognition of a common human

  • He also wrote a play about the Roman emperor Caligula, pursuing an absurd logic, which was not performed until 1945.


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