Albert Camus

Dafato Team | Jun 22, 2022

Table of Content

Summary

Albert Camus, born on November 7, 1913 in Mondovi (now Dréan), Algeria, and died accidentally on January 4, 1960 in Villeblevin, is a French writer, philosopher, novelist, playwright, essayist and short story writer. He was also a militant journalist involved in the French Resistance and close to the libertarian currents in the moral struggles of the post-war period.

His work includes plays, novels, short stories, films, poems and essays in which he develops a humanism based on the awareness of the absurdity of the human condition but also on revolt as a response to the absurd, revolt that leads to action and gives meaning to the world and to existence. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.

In the newspaper Combat, he took a position on the question of Algerian independence as well as on his relations with the Algerian Communist Party, which he left after a short two-year stay. He protested successively against the inequalities that hit the Muslims of North Africa, then against the caricature of the exploitative blackfoot, or taking the defense of the Spanish exiles antifascists, victims of Stalinism and conscientious objectors. On the bangs of certain philosophical currents, Camus is first and foremost a witness of his time and never stops fighting against ideologies and abstractions that distract from the human. He is thus led to oppose existentialism and Marxism. His criticism of Soviet totalitarianism earned him the anathema of communists and his break with Jean-Paul Sartre.

Origins and childhood

Lucien Auguste Camus, Albert's father, was born on November 28, 1885 in Ouled Fayet in the department of Algiers, Algeria. He was a descendant of the first French settlers in this colony, which was annexed to France in 1834 and departmentalized in 1848. A great-grandfather, Claude Camus, born in 1809, came from Bordeaux, another great-grandfather, Mathieu Just Cormery, from Ardèche and his wife from Veymerange in Lorraine, but the family believes it is of Alsatian origin. Lucien Camus works as a wine merchant in a vineyard in the hamlet of Saint-Paul (today Chebaïta Mokhtar), named "le Chapeau du gendarme". It is located 8 km from Mondovi, in Arabic Dréan, a few kilometers from Bône (Annaba) in the department of Constantine. The cellars belong to a wine merchant from Algiers. Lucien married on November 13, 1909 in Algiers (marriage certificate no. 932) Catherine Hélène Sintès, born in Birkhadem on November 5, 1882, whose family was originally from Minorca in Spain. In 1910, their eldest son Lucien Jean Étienne was born in Algiers and on November 7, 1913, their second son, Albert, was born in Mondovi (today Dréan). Lucien Auguste Camus was mobilized as a 2nd class in the 1st Zouave regiment in September 1914. Hit in the head by a shrapnel that made him blind, he was evacuated to the Sacré-Coeur school in Saint-Brieuc, which had been transformed into an auxiliary hospital. He died less than a week later, on October 11, 1914, at the age of 28. Fatherless because of the war, the two brothers were made wards of the Nation.

Of his father, Camus will know only a few photographs and a significant anecdote: his disgust at the spectacle of a capital execution.

"I remembered in those moments a story Mom used to tell me about my father. I didn't know him. All I knew about him was perhaps what Mom told me about him at the time: he had gone to see a murderer executed. He was sick at the thought of going. He did, however, and on the way back he threw up part of the morning."

Her mother, partly deaf, could neither read nor write: she could only understand a speaker by reading his lips, had a very small vocabulary of 400 words, and communicated using a gesture specific to her family, also used by her brother Étienne. Even before her husband left for the army, she had moved with her children to her mother's and her two brothers' (Etienne - deaf, who worked as a cooper - and Joseph) home on rue de Lyon in Belcourt, a working-class neighborhood in Algiers. She had a brief affair there, which her brother Etienne opposed.

Albert Camus was influenced by his uncle, Gustave Acault, with whom he spent long periods of time. Anarchist, Acault is also Voltairian. Moreover, he frequented the lodges of the Freemasons. A butcher by trade, he is a cultured man. He helps his nephew to support himself and provides him with a rich and eclectic library.

Training

Albert Camus studied in Algiers. In 1923, when he was only 10 years old, he was noticed by his teacher, Louis Germain, who gave him free lessons and put him on the list of candidates for scholarships in 1924, despite the mistrust of his grandmother who wanted him to earn a living as soon as possible. Louis Germain, a veteran of the First World War, in which the father of the future writer died, read to his students Les Croix de bois by Roland Dorgelès, whose excerpts moved little Albert, who discovered the horror of war. Camus was very grateful to Louis Germain and dedicated his Nobel Prize speech to him. Albert Camus was admitted to the Lycée Bugeaud (now the Lycée Émir Abdelkader) where he was a half-boarder. "I was ashamed of my poverty and my family. Before, everyone was like me and poverty seemed to me the very air of this world. In high school, I knew the comparison," he recalls.

During this time he began to play soccer and gained a reputation as a goalkeeper. After passing the first part of his baccalaureate, he entered the philosophy class in the fall of 1930. But in December, following worrying sputum of blood, the doctors diagnose tuberculosis, and he has to make a short stay at the Mustapha hospital. He evokes this experience in his first writing essay, L'Hôpital du quartier pauvre (The Hospital of the Poor Quarter), which probably dates from 1933. In 1932 or 1933, according to Max-Pol Fouchet, who was his friend in those years with Louis Bénisti, Jean de Maisonseul, Claude de Fréminville and Louis Miquel, he also wrote an essay, Beriha ou le rêveur and became secretary of the Algerian section of the Amsterdam-Pleyel Movement. It was the end of his passion for soccer, and he could only study part-time. His uncle and aunt Acault, who run a butcher shop on rue Michelet (now rue Didouche-Mourad), then take him in, on rue du Languedoc, where he can have a room. Camus was encouraged in his vocation as a writer by his philosophy teacher, Jean Grenier, who introduced him to Nietzsche. He will always remain faithful to the working class and poor environment that was his for a long time, and his work gives a real place to workers and their torments. In 1936, he obtained his diploma of higher studies in literature, philosophy section, by presenting a thesis on the thoughts of Plotinus and Augustine of Hippo.

Journalistic and literary debut

In June 1934, he married Simone Hié (1914-1970), an Algerian starlet taken from his friend Max-Pol Fouchet. A drug addict, she often cheated on him and their marriage quickly fell apart. In 1935, he joined the Algerian Communist Party (PCA) on the advice of Jean Grenier. The Party, then anti-colonialist and turned to the defense of the oppressed, embodies some of his own convictions.

That same year, he began writing L'Envers et l'Endroit, which was published two years later by Edmond Charlot, whose bookstore was visited by young writers from Algiers, such as Max-Pol Fouchet. Camus founded and directed, under the aegis of the PCA, the "Théâtre du Travail", but the party leadership changed its line in 1936 and gave primacy to the struggle against the strategy of assimilation and French sovereignty. The militants were then prosecuted and imprisoned. Camus, who was uncomfortable with cynicism and ideological strategy, protested against this reversal and was expelled from the Party in 1937. At the beginning of the year following this definitive break, unable to resolve to a strictly committed theater that does not carry the freedom of the artist, he creates, with friends who followed him, the "Théâtre de l'Équipe", with the ambition to make a popular theater.

His first play was an adaptation of André Malraux's short story Le Temps du mépris (1935), the rehearsals of which gave him the opportunity to establish a friendship with Emmanuel Roblès. He joined the newspaper created by Pascal Pia, Alger Républicain, an organ of the Front Populaire, where he became editor-in-chief, then the newspaper Le Soir républicain (when the publication of Alger Républicain was suspended), which he and Pia launched in September 1939. His investigation Misère de la Kabylie (June 1939) will have a resounding echo. Invited shortly afterwards to a private screening of the film Sierra de Teruel that Malraux had drawn from his novel L'Espoir, Camus told him that he had read L'Espoir eight times. During this period, he developed a rich reflection on the freedom of the press and the ethics of journalism, through a daily practice in the newspaper he directs, Le Soir républicain.

In 1940, the General Government of Algeria banned the newspaper Le Soir républicain. That same year, Camus divorced Simone Hié and married Francine Faure, sister of Christiane Faure. They moved to Paris where he worked as an editorial secretary at Paris-Soir under the direction of Pascal Pia. He also founded the magazine Rivage. Malraux, then a reader at Gallimard, entered into correspondence with Camus and "revealed himself to be a meticulous, benevolent and passionate reader of The Stranger" and recommended its publication. The book was published on June 15, 1942, along with the essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (1942), in which Camus expounds his philosophy. According to his own classification, these works belong to the cycle of the absurd - a cycle that he will complete with the plays Le Malentendu and Caligula (1944). It should be noted that Albert Camus, who came to the village of Chambon-sur-Lignon in 1942-1943 to treat his tuberculosis, was able to observe the non-violent resistance to the Holocaust put up by the population. He wrote Le Malentendu there, finding inspiration for his novel La Peste, which he worked on while there.

In 1943, he became a reader at Gallimard and took over the direction of Combat when Pascal Pia was called to other functions in the Resistance. The newspaper claimed to be the "voice of the new France" and Camus did not want it to be associated with any political party. In 1944, he met André Gide and a little later Jean-Paul Sartre, with whom he became friends; the same year (March 19) he hosted the first performance of Picasso's play: Le Désir attraé par la queue (Desire Caught by the Tail), a scene humorously recounted by Claude Simon in Le Jardin des plantes. On August 8, 1945, he was the only Western intellectual to denounce the use of the atomic bomb, two days after the bombing of Hiroshima, in a famous editorial published by Combat.

In 1945, on the initiative of François Mauriac, he signed a petition asking General de Gaulle to pardon Robert Brasillach, an intellectual figure known for his collaborationist activity during the Second World War. In 1946, Camus became friends with René Char, a French poet and Resistance fighter. He left the same year to the United States and, back in France, he published a series of articles against Soviet expansionism - which will become manifest in 1948, with the coup de Prague and the anathema launched against Tito.

In 1947, he achieved literary success with the novel La Peste, followed two years later, in 1949, by the play Les Justes.

Political and literary commitment

Distrustful of ideologies, "as early as 1945, Camus rejected any idea of definitive revolution and emphasized the risks of revolutionary deviation. In October 1951, the publication of L'Homme révolté erased any ambiguity about his positions towards the communist regime. According to the essayist Denis Salas, Camus remained "a man of the moderate left" who positioned himself at a distance from the communist left and the liberal right of Raymond Aron.

These positions provoke violent polemics and Camus is attacked by his friends. The break with Jean-Paul Sartre took place in 1952, after the publication in Les Temps modernes of the article by Francis Jeanson who reproached Camus' revolt for being "deliberately static". He also broke with the Algerian poet Jean Sénac, whom he called a "little cutthroat" because of his involvement in the Algerian uprising. In addition, he protested against the bloody repression of the revolts in East Berlin (June 1953) and against the Soviet intervention in Budapest (October-November 1956).only support René Char, Louis Guilloux, Jules Roy, Hannah Arendt. Simone de Beauvoir was inspired by Camus for one of the main characters of his key novel The Mandarins. Camus accuses the blow: "the dubious acts of the life of Sartre are generously stuck on my back".

He is actively committed to global citizenship.

In 1954, Camus moved into his Parisian apartment at 4 rue de Chanaleilles. In the same building and during the same period, René Char lives.

He joined the weekly L'Express in 1955, because he wanted Pierre Mendès France to return to power so that he could deal with the situation in Algeria.

In 1956, he published The Fall, a pessimistic book in which he attacked existentialism without sparing himself.

At that time, he also edited the posthumous publication of the works of the philosopher Simone Weil. Camus considers himself her "posthumous friend", so much so that he keeps a photo of Weil on his desk. On the occasion of the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1957, during the press conference, journalists ask him which living writers are most important to him. After naming a few French and Algerian authors, he added: "And Simone Weil - because there are dead people who are closer to us than many living ones. Camus had Weil's works published in the Espoir series, which he founded with the publisher Gallimard, considering Weil's message as an antidote to contemporary nihilism.

That same year, he launched the Appel pour une Trêve Civile (Appeal for a Civil Truce) in Algiers, while death threats were made against him from outside. His peaceful plea for an equitable solution to the conflict was very poorly understood, which led to his being ignored during his lifetime by his fellow pieds-noirs in Algeria and then, after independence, by Algerians who reproached him for not having campaigned for independence. Hated by the defenders of French colonialism, he was forced to leave Algiers under protection.

On October 16, 1957, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Questioned in Stockholm by a student from Algeria about the just nature of the struggle for independence led by the FLN despite the attacks on civilians, he replied, according to Dominique Birman, a correspondent for Le Monde who witnessed the scene: "I have always condemned terror. I must also condemn a terrorism that is carried out blindly, in the streets of Algiers for example, and that one day may strike my mother or my family. I believe in justice, but I will defend my mother before justice. The translator C.G. Bjurström reports much later a slightly different version: "At the moment, bombs are being thrown into the streetcars of Algiers. My mother may be on one of these streetcars. If this is justice, I prefer my mother.

Often distorted into "Between justice and my mother, I choose my mother", this answer will be reproached to him. However, it fits coherently into the work of Camus, who has always rejected the idea that "all means are good": this is the whole subject developed, for example, in The Just.

Preferring a formula of association, Albert Camus was against the independence of Algeria and wrote in 1958, in the last of his Algerian Chronicles that "national independence is a purely passionate formula". He denounced the injustice done to Muslims as well as the caricature of the "exploitative pied-noir". Camus thus wishes the end of the colonial system but with a still French Algeria, a proposal that could have seemed contradictory.

A part of the French literary press, from the left as well as from the right, criticizes his positions on the Algerian war, the simplicity of his style and considers his prize as a funeral monument. This recognition then becomes a burden. Wounded by his detractors, in particular his former fellow traveler Pascal Pia, and plagued by doubt, he wrote little from then on.

At the same time, he became involved in the defense of the right to conscientious objection, among other things by sponsoring the committee created by Louis Lecoin, alongside André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Jean Giono and Abbé Pierre. This committee obtained a restricted status for objectors in December 1963. On the other hand, he refused to join the appeal of several writers (Jean-Paul Sartre, François Mauriac, André Malraux, Roger Martin du Gard) asking for the lifting of the ban on the book The Question devoted to the use of torture in Algeria.

On Algeria, he said:

"I have loved with passion this land where I was born, I have drawn from it all that I am and I have not separated in my friendship any of the men who live there..."

In 1958, the check for the Nobel Prize enabled him to buy a house in Lourmarin, a village in the Luberon in the Vaucluse. In this old silkworm farm he found the light and colors of his native Algeria.

Camus is nevertheless ready to challenge himself: the Nobel Prize also serves to finance his ambitious theatrical adaptation of The Possessed by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which he is also the director. Performed, starting in January 1959, at the Théâtre Antoine, the play is a critical success and an artistic and technical tour de force: thirty-three actors, four hours of performance, seven sets, twenty-four tableaux. The walls move to change the size of each place and an enormous central rotating plate allows rapid changes in the sets. Camus entrusted the creation of these multiple and complex sets to the painter and film decorator Mayo, who had already illustrated several of his works (L'Étranger - 1948 edition).

Privacy Policy

He married Simone Hié in 1934 and then, in 1940, in a second marriage, Francine Faure (1914-1979), mother of his twins, Catherine and Jean born in 1945. According to his daughter, Catherine Camus :

"I only know that she has always loved him. And he, I think, too. There have been other women, and other loves. But he never left her.

He has several love affairs, including with Maria Casarès (1922-1996), "the only one", met in 1944, interpreter of his plays Le Malentendu and Les Justes, liaison that, because of its public nature, worsened the depression of Francine; with a young American student, Patricia Blake (with the actress Catherine Sellers (with Mi (Mette Ivers born in 1933), a young Danish painter, met in 1957 at the terrace of the Flore while he was in the company of Albert Cossery and Pierre Bénichou.

Death

Albert Camus celebrated New Year's Day 1960 in his house in Lourmarin with his family and friends, Janine (née Thomasset) and Michel Gallimard, nephew of the publisher Gaston Gallimard, and their daughter Anne. On January 2, his wife Francine and his two children left for Paris by train. Camus, who was supposed to return with them, finally decided to stay and return with this couple of friends who had come by car, a powerful and luxurious Facel Vega FV3B of 1956. After stopping for the night at the inn Le Chapon Fin in Thoissey, they set off again on the morning of January 4, taking the Nationale 6 (from Lyon to Sens) and the Nationale 5 (from Sens to Paris). Michel Gallimard drives and Albert Camus is in the front passenger seat of the car, while Janine and Anne are in the back.

Shortly after Pont-sur-Yonne, in Villeblevin, the car was travelling at high speed and skidded on wet ground, leaving the road and hitting a plane tree, bouncing off another and breaking up. The violence of the impact is frightening and pieces of the car are scattered over tens of meters. The watch on the dashboard is stuck at 13:55 and the speedometer at 145 km

Albert Camus died on the spot, his skull fractured and his neck broken, trapped between the dashboard and the back of his seat. It took two hours to extract him from the crumpled metal. His body was transported to the meeting room of the Villeblevin town hall, which had been transformed into a chapel of fire. He was laid on a stretcher and covered entirely with a white sheet. The mayor of the village, Mr. Chamillard, who arrived on the scene shortly after the tragedy, declared: "The body of Albert Camus was not dislocated, as one might have expected after the horrible vision that was presented to the eyes. In fact, he simply had a hole in the back of his head that was bleeding. We took him away as quickly as possible, which was not easy because of the heavy traffic. The prosecutor's office arrived shortly after. He was the one who took charge of the case. Francine Faure, Camus' wife, arrived at about 9:50 p.m., accompanied by her sister and two friends, and the coroner - whose name was Marcel Camus!  - attributed the death to "a fracture of the skull, the spine and a crushing of the thorax. In Camus's briefcase, found at the scene of the accident, we discover the unfinished manuscript (144 p.) of his last novel, The First Man.

On January 5, his body was taken to the cemetery of Lourmarin where he was buried, in this region that his friend, the poet René Char, had helped him discover.

The writer René Étiemble, a friend of Camus, declared: "I investigated for a long time and I had the proof that this Facel Vega was a coffin. I looked in vain for a newspaper that wanted to publish my article..."

In 2011, in the Corriere della Sera, the Italian academic Giovanni Catelli asserted, following a revelation in the posthumous diary of the Czech poet Jan Zábrana, Toute une vie, that Camus had been assassinated by the KGB on the orders of the Soviet foreign minister Dmitri Chepilov. The tire that exploded was sabotaged with a tool that finally punctured it while the car was driving at high speed:

"I heard something very strange from a man who knows a lot of things and has well-informed sources. According to him, the accident that took the life of Albert Camus in 1960 was organized by Soviet espionage. They damaged a tire of the car with a sophisticated device that cut or punctured the wheel with speed. The order was given personally by Minister Shepilov in reaction to an article published in Franc-tireur in March 1957, in which Camus attacked the minister, naming him explicitly on the events in Hungary..."

- Jan Zabrana

Camus had indeed violently reproached this man, in an article published in the Franc-Tireurs newspaper in March 1957 and during a meeting in support of the Hungarians, for the repression of the Budapest uprising and strongly denounced the "Shepilov massacres", naming him explicitly. According to Giovanni Catelli, the Russian minister would not have supported it, but what would have really aroused the attack would have been the next visit to Paris, in March 1960, of Khrushchev, then first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and president of the Council of Ministers: The Soviet and French governments wanted to get closer, and "one can imagine the diatribes that Albert Camus would have launched against Khrushchev, and the media frenzy that he would have caused by ruining the image of the Soviets in public opinion, to the point of endangering the agreement between the two countries. It was inadmissible for the leaders in place.  I believe that it is to avoid such a fiasco that the decision was taken to eliminate Camus."

The KGB would then have subcontracted his elimination to the Czech secret services, which would even have obtained the support of the French government at the time.

This hypothesis of a political assassination, developed at length in Catelli's book, La Mort de Camus, and considered by many as unrealistic, is today almost unanimously rejected, except by the writer Paul Auster. Michel Onfray, a French philosopher, does not believe in this version either. Shortly before the publication of his biography of Camus - The Libertarian Order -, he declared: "I don't believe this is plausible, the KGB had the means to end Albert Camus in another way. That day, Camus was actually supposed to return by train. He even had his ticket, and it was at the last moment that he decided to return with Michel Gallimard. Moreover, the car was Gallimard's. That the Soviets wanted to finish him off is certain, but not like this.

To which Catelli will answer him, in L'Express: "Of course, he had planned in advance to return by train, with René Char: but in the days preceding the departure, Camus and the Gallimards had expressed to many people of their circle their decision to return by car together. These words had been communicated by telephone, letter, and conversation: the publisher Fayard had advised Gallimard against leaving by car. Someone controlling Camus and the Gallimards could easily have known what they were saying. If you could read the complete document, it clearly speaks of the fact that the spies had to wait almost three years for the opportunity to act. I would be happy to discuss this with you, and I think this may be the last opportunity to set the record straight, before the tide of time erases the last of the evidence. We owe it to the memory of Albert Camus."

Posterity

Since November 15, 2000, the author's archives have been deposited at the Méjanes Library (Aix-en-Provence), which is managed and promoted by the Albert Camus Documentation Center.

On November 19, 2009, the daily newspaper Le Monde stated that President Nicolas Sarkozy was considering transferring the remains of Albert Camus to the Pantheon. The very next day, his son, Jean Camus, opposed this transfer, judging it to be in contradiction with his father's thought. His daughter, Catherine Camus, was at first extremely favorable after a first meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy, then took refuge in silence after the controversy caused by this case.

Camus is notably recognized for his "lucidity" and his "demand for truth and justice", which leads him to oppose Sartre and to fall out with former friends.

According to Herbert R. Lottman, Camus did not belong to any particular political family, although he was a member of the Algerian Communist Party for two years. He protested successively against the inequalities that hit the Muslims of North Africa, and then against the caricature of the exploitative pied-noir. He went to the aid of the Spanish exiles who were anti-fascists, victims of Stalinism and conscientious objectors.

Camus does not believe in God, but does not consider himself an atheist. The philosopher Arnaud Corbic nevertheless mentions the "atheistic humanism" of Camus, who decided to tackle "a way of conceiving the world without God" (through his cycle of the absurd), "a way of living in it" (the cycle of revolt) and "a way of behaving in it" (the theme of love).

The cycle of the absurd

The absurd is the feeling of weariness, even disgust, experienced by man who becomes aware that his existence revolves around repetitive and meaningless acts. The certainty of death only reinforces, according to Camus, the feeling of uselessness of all existence.

Arnaud Corbic introduces the Camusian absurd as follows: "Dismissing all hope and rejecting any attitude of escape, the human being must face the absurd. Because it is in this decided and unceasing confrontation with the absurd that the man discovers himself revolted, and it is in the awareness of the absurd (which is accompanied by revolt against this one) that the man comes to himself and affirms his dignity ".

Camus wished to treat the general idea of the absurd (or "negation") in three different media and tones: the novel (with The Stranger), the theater (with Caligula and The Misunderstanding) and the essay (with The Myth of Sisyphus).

According to the psychoanalyst Marie Jejcic, The Stranger is part, with The Myth of Sisyphus and Caligula, of a triptych on the absurd, seeking to make reference to death and to "decline it in all its forms.

The cycle of revolt

Camus wished to express revolt (or the "positive") through these same three forms and media, which are the novel (with The Plague), the theater (with The State of Siege and The Righteous) and the essay (with The Revolted Man).

He writes: "One of the only coherent philosophical positions is thus the revolt". The revolt is thus the way to live the absurd, to know our fatal destiny and nevertheless to face it. It is the intelligence in the grip of the "unreasonable silence of the world"; the condemned to death who refuses the suicide.

The revolt is also to offer an enormous field of possibilities of actions, because if the absurd man deprives himself of an eternal life, he frees himself from the constraints imposed by an improbable future and gains there in freedom of action.

Although Camus refutes the religions because "one does not find there any real problem, all the answers being given at once", and that he does not grant any importance to the future: "there is no tomorrow", his revolt is not for all that amoral. "The solidarity of the men is founded on the movement of revolt and this one, in its turn, finds justification only in this complicity". All is not allowed in the revolt, the thought of Camus is humanist, men revolt against death, against injustice and try to "find themselves in the only value that can save them from nihilism, the long complicity of men in the grip of their destiny. At the end of The Plague, he makes the main hero, Doctor Rieux, say that he wrote this chronicle "to say simply what one learns in the middle of plagues, that there are in men more things to admire than to despise.

Camus sets a condition for man's revolt: his own limit. The revolt of Camus is not made against all and against all. He then asked: "Does the end justify the means? That is possible. But who justifies the end? To this question, that the historical thought leaves pending, the revolt answers: the means ".

Roger Quilliot calls this part of Camus' life The Pen and the Sword, a pen that served as a symbolic sword for him, but without excluding the actions he carried out throughout his life (see for example the following chapter). Camus proclaims in Letters to a German friend his love of life: "You slightly accept to despair and I never consented to it" confessing "a violent taste of justice that seemed to me as unreasonable as the most sudden of passions." He did not wait for the Resistance to get involved. He comes from the proletariat and will always claim it, notwithstanding Sartre; the first play he plays at the Théâtre du Travail, Révolte dans les Asturies, already evokes the class struggle.

He joins the Communist Party and publishes his famous report on the misery in Kabylia in Alger Républicain, a newspaper founded by the Algerian left in 1938, mixing Europeans like Pascal Pia and Pierre Faure with Algerian personalities like Mohand Saîd Lechani. He denounced "the abject logic that wants a man to be without strength because he does not have enough to eat and that he is paid less because he is without strength. The pressures he was under forced him to leave Algeria, but the war and illness caught up with him. In spite of this, he will launch himself into the Resistance.

Although he wrote in Combat and fought for causes he believed in, Camus felt a certain weariness. What he wants is to be able to reconcile justice and freedom, to fight against all forms of violence, to defend peace and peaceful coexistence, to denounce throughout his life the death penalty, to fight in his own way to resist, to challenge, to denounce.

In 2013, Indigene Editions collected his "libertarian writings" published in Le Monde libertaire, La Révolution prolétarienne, Solidaridad Obrera, etc. A collection that his daughter, Catherine Camus, defends as "essential".

The Spanish origins of Camus can be seen in his work, from the Notebooks to Revolt in Asturias or The State of Siege, for example, as well as in his adaptations of Devotion to the Cross (Calderon de la Barca) or The Knight of Olmedo (Lope de Vega).

As a journalist, his stance, his permanent struggle against Francoism, can be found in numerous articles since Alger républicain in 1938, in newspapers such as Combat, of course, but also in other lesser-known ones, such as Preuves or Témoins, where he defends his convictions and affirms his commitment to a Spain freed from the Franco yoke. He wrote: "Spanish friends, we are partly of the same blood and I owe your country, its literature and its people, its tradition, a debt that will not be extinguished. In 1952, he decided to break all ties with Unesco to protest against the admission by the UN of Franco's Spain.

According to Bertrand Poirot-Delpech, essays on his work abounded just after his death, while very little was written about his life. The first biographies did not appear until eighteen years after his death. Of these, the most impressive is that of Herbert R. Lottman, an American journalist and observer of European literature for The New York Times and Publishers Weekly.

According to Olivier Todd, his main qualities are lucidity and honesty.

His famous condemnation of the principle of attacks on civilians, formulated during the award of his Nobel Prize in 1957 in Stockholm, remains a milestone for the 21st century.

His criticism of productivism and the myth of progress, the importance he gives to the limit and to the measure and his search for a new relationship with nature have allowed the partisans of degrowth to classify him among the precursors of this current.

Letters of Albert Camus, an original work

The daughter of Albert Camus (Catherine) obtained the condemnation of an auction company that reproduced on the Internet, as well as in its catalog, a series of unpublished letters written by her father, in disregard of the right of disclosure that belongs to the author or his successors. These letters were qualified as original works eligible for copyright protection.

Long after refusing to publish love letters from her father ("These letters are very intimate documents.") Catherine Camus authorizes the publication of those exchanged with Maria Casarès, under the title Correspondence 1944-1959 of which she signs the foreword and which comes out in bookstores on November 9, 2017.

Institutional recognition

In 2015, Camus is the 23rd most celebrated character on the pediment of the 67,000 French public establishments: 175 schools, colleges and high schools bear his name.

Since 2018, a high school in Cairo has been named after Albert Camus.

Theater

Albert Camus adapted various foreign plays.

In 1975, the director and actor Nicou Nitai translated and adapted The Fall for a one-man show, which was performed on the stages of the Simta Theater and the Karov Theater in Tel Aviv, more than 3,000 times.

At the cinema

The Stranger inspires Kamel Daoud with his novel Meursault, contre-enquête (Actes Sud, 2014), offering the point of view of the brother of "the Arab," killed by Meursault. According to his first editor, Kamel Daoud "deliberately confuses Meursault and Camus. In places, he subtly diverts passages from The Stranger.". The book won the François-Mauriac prize in 2014, and the prize of the five continents of the Francophonie. The following year, it won the Goncourt Prize for first novel 2015.

In February 2015 is published in Allary editions the novel La Joie, by Charles Pépin, where the author and "philosopher borrows from Albert Camus, since it is inspired by the famous story of the Nobel Prize winner for literature The Stranger. It is the same story, but Pépin has set it in the 2000s," for the review in Le Figaro. The review in the magazine L'Express also mentions it: "Charles Pépin publishes La Joie, a novel whose hero is reminiscent of Camus' Meursault."

The French Post Office issued a stamp with his effigy on June 26, 1967.

Notes

Primary sources

Secondary sources

Infographic & file

: source used for the writing of this article.

Sources

  1. Albert Camus
  2. Albert Camus