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Albert Camus


Albert Camus

Albert Camus was born near Mondovi, Algeria, in November of 1913, the son of impoverished parents who both came from families of immigrant colonists-- his father's family from France, his mother's from the Spanish island of Minorca. His father was fatally wounded at the first battle of the Marne in World War I, when Camus was less than a year old. His mother, illiterate and partially deaf, then took her children to live with her own mother in Belcourt, a poor neighborhood in Algiers.

There Camus attended the local elementary school, where his intellectual promise was recognized by his teacher, Louis Germain, who strongly urged-- against his domineering grandmother's wishes-- that he take the exams for a scholarship to the lycee. The resulting scholarship and his attainment of the baccalaureate were to break open a realm of possibility beyond the mute laboring existences of his family members.

In 1930 Camus suffered his first attack of tuberculosis, which was to plague him throughout his life. He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Algiers, where he was briefly involved with the Communist Party; his lifelong involvement in the theater began with his work as actor and director for the Workers' Theater. He left the university in 1936, the year which also saw the breakup of his two-year first marriage, and began working as a journalist at the Alger-Republicain.

In 1940 he moved to Paris, and in the same year he married Francine Faure. He joined the French Resistance and became a writer for the Resistance newspaper Combat, of which he was the principal editor. With the publication in 1942 of his novel The Stranger and his philosophical essayThe Myth of Sisyphus, Camus became a major figure in French intellectual and literary life.

He was later rejected by his friend Jean-Paul Sartre and isolated from intellectual circles because of his compromise position on the Algerian conflict, and because of the anti-Stalinist political positions taken in his essay The Rebel. In the midst of the ensuing period of depression, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1957.

With the composition of The First Man, Camus had entered a new period of creative energy and hopefulness. He was killed instantly when a car driven by his publisher, Michel Gallimard, swerved into a tree in the village of Villeblevin, on the fourth of January, 1960.

Albert Camus

Books by Albert Camus

by Albert Camus

Camus tells the story of Jacques Cormery, a boy who lived a life much like his own. Camus summons up the sights, sounds and textures of a childhood circumscribed by poverty and a father's death yet redeemed by the austere beauty of Algeria and the boy's attachment to his nearly deaf-mute mother.