Philosophy Index

Albert Camus

A French writer from Algeria, Albert Camus was famous for his deep, yet concise, literary pieces. In addition to his novels, essays and plays, Camus was a journalist, and during World War II, a member of the French resistance against German occupation. His philosophy, which is described in his essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, centers around the absurdity of the human condition. Camus was labeled as an existentialist but rejected the title.

Camus brings a certain humanism to the existing existentialism of his time. While all of his characters are aware (or quickly become aware) of the absurd, they all rebel against their circumstances. Camus illustrates his views with his stories of characters who live by that philosophy.

Biography

Albert Camus was born in Mondovi, Algeria on November 7, 1913. A year later, his father was killed fighting in France. Camus lived a poor childhood, but he was not unhappy. He studied philosophy at the University of Algiera and became a journalist. He also opened the Théâtre de l'équipe, a small performing arts group.

Camus went to Paris and worked for Paris Soir, a city newspaper. He then went home and then returned to Paris a second time, where he published L'Étranger (The Stranger) and La Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus). When Nazi Germany occupied France during World War II, Camus wrote for Combat, a resistance newspaper.

Camus continued to write, and gained fame writing some of his famous works, including La Peste (The Plague), and La Chute (The Fall). He was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature.

In 1960, Camus was killed in a car accident while returning to Paris. His final novel, La Premier Homme (The First Man), was found, unfinished, when he died. This book didn't appear publicly until 1994.

Works

  • The Stranger (Novel, 1942)
  • The Myth of Sisyphus (Essay, 1942)
  • The Misunderstanding (Play, 1943)
  • Caligula (Play, 1944)
  • The Plague (Novel, 1947)
  • The State of Seige (Play, 1948)
  • The Just Assasins (Play, 1950)
  • The Rebel (Essay, 1951)
  • The Fall (Novel, 1956)
  • Exile and the Kingdom (Short Stories, 1957)
  • Resistance, Rebellion, and Death (Political Essays, 1960)
  • The First Man (Autobiographical Novel, Unfinished 1960)
  • A Happy Death (Novel, 1971 - written in 1920s)

Vitals

Name: Albert Camus
Born: November 7, 1913, Mondovi, Algeria
Died: January 4, 1960, Sens, France
Awards: Nobel Prize for Literature (1957)