Albert Camus

Albert Camus

|French
date of birth : 07/11/1913 | date of death : 04/01/1960
Born on 7 November, 1913, Mondovi, Novelist, Journalist, 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".

Birth, Birthplace, Time of birth:

Albert Camus was born in Mondovi, French Algeria on the 7th of November, 1913.

Father’s name: Lucien Auguste Camus
Mother’s name: Catherine Hélène Sintés
Brother: Lucien Camus
Sister:-
Spouse: Simone Hi (m. 1934, div. 1936), Francine Faure (m. 1940)
Children: Catherine and Jean Camus (twin)

Personal Information:

Religion: Agnostic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight

Life events:

Early year and education

Albert Camus was born on November 7, 1913, in Mondovi, Algeria, then part of France. His French father was killed in World War I (1914–18; a war that involved many European countries, such as Russia, the United States, and areas of the Middle East) when Albert was just one year old. His mother, of Spanish origin, was able to provide a small income and home in a needy neighborhood of Algiers, Algeria, through unskilled labor. His childhood was one of poverty and of sunshine. Camus started writing at an early age. During the years of 1918-1923, Camus attended primary school and met Louis Germain, who acted as a father to the boy, helping him win a scholarship to high school. Thus, between the years of 1924-1930, Camus was a scholarship student at the University of Algiers. Following the onset of tuberculosis, Camus went on leave from school. He recommenced his studies later in 1930, and paid his way by working odd jobs as a tutor, a salesman of car parts, and a weather bureau worker. Camus lived at the home of his uncle, Gustave Acault, where he began exploring modern literature. During these years, he also met Jean Grenier, the man who introduced Camus to thinkers such as Nietzsche and Bergson.
He and Grenier focused much of their writing on the duality of mortality. At the University of Algiers Camus received a degree in letters, and a master's in philosophy, and received his diplôme d'études supérieures in 1936. In the years between 1934-1936 he was married to Simone Hie, the daughter of a wealthy ophthalmologist.

Philosophy and works

Camus joined the Communist Party 1934 in response to the rise of fascism in Europe; he was entrusted with propaganda work among the Muslims. Camus' affiliation with the Communist party did not last long, however, and by 1935 his disillusionment had begun. He poured his energy into the theater group, Theatre du Travail, where he worked as an actor, director, and playwright. He formulated a philosophy of moralism that led to his ideas of the absurd; a state which he posits can only exist if God is absent. Camus soon left Algiers to travel Central Europe. His marriage to Simone broke up due to her serious drug addiction. He was still able to produce his own play that year however, The Revolt in Austria. In 1937, Camus completed the book, A Happy Death, though it remained unpublished during his lifetime. However, Camus did publish the essay collection, The Wrong Side and the Right Side. He supported the Blum-Viollette legislation on mitigating social problems in Algeria and was expelled from the Communist Party. He then wrote a characteristic essay, betwixt and between. He continued to run his theater group, renamed the Theatre de l'Equipe, until 1938, producing the works of many renowned playwrights, such as Malraux, Gide, Synge, and Dostoevsky. In 1938, Camus became a journalist at Alger-Republicain and met the influential Pascal Pia, who taught him the craft of journalism. His report on the unhappy state of the Muslims of the Kabylie region aroused the support of the Algerian government and brought him to the attention of the public. As World War II began, his essay collection Nuptials was published and he married Francine Faure in 1940. He found a teaching position in Oran. During this time he was a vocal, self-proclaimed pacifist. In March of that year he was advised to leave Algeria because he had become a "threat to national security." The same year, the Alger-Republicain was banned. Camus moved to Paris and worked at Paris-Soir. He also completed one of his most famous works, The Stranger. However, in 1941 he lost the Paris-Soir post and returned to Oran, Algeria where he wrote The Myth of Sisyphus. In 1942, illness forced him to return to France and convalesce in the Massif-Central region where he published The Stranger. He remained in Southern France because of the allied invasion of North Africa and was separated from his wife in Algeria until after the liberation in 1944. In the meantime, Camus moved to Paris where he was employed as an editor at the publishing house Gallimard. During 1943, he joined the French Resistance and became a journalist at the resistance newspaper, Combat. He also wrote a series of Letters to a German Friend. As the country was liberated in 1944, Camus came into contact with many of the figures who shaped the moralist philosophies of his life: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Arthur Koestler, and Maria Casares, who also became his lover. In 1944 he fully rejected communism. After the war, Camus's family expanded with the birth of twins, Jean and Catherine. He visited Algeria and wrote articles attacking French policy. The first performance of his play, Caligula, was produced. Camus toured the United States and published Neither Victims nor Executioners. In 1947, Camus left Combat and published The Plague. State of Siege came out the next year. Camus resumed the love affair with Maria Casares that had started during the War until another attack of tuberculosis forced him to convalescence at Grasse in 1950. He then published The Rebel in 1951. During the following couple of years, Camus was depressed and unable to write. However, he remained politically active, opposing the suppression of a workers' revolt in East Berlin and protesting the seven Tunisians condemned to death for political activity. In 1954, he published his work, summer. With the start of the Algerian war for independence, he began to contribute articles to L'Express, supporting the French government. In 1956, he called for a truce in Algeria and pleads on the behalf of certain Algerian liberals and nationalists who had been arrested. Soon after, Camus and his wife were separated and he again suffers from illness and depression. The fall was published soon after. Amazingly, in 1957 Camus not only revived Caligula and published Exile and the Kingdom and "Reflections on the Guillotine," but he won the Nobel Prize for literature. Following the biggest award of his life, Camus republished The Wrong Side and The Right Side with a new introduction. He bought a house at Lourmarin in Southern France and chose to turn down an offer to have artistic control over the Comedie Francaise. Instead, in 1959, he adapted and directed Dostoevsky's The Possessed for the experimental stage. He also worked full time on the novel, The First Man. On the 4th of January, Camus was killed in a car accident at Villeblevin. A Happy Death and The First Man were published posthumously decades later. The sudden death cut short the life of the great moralist of twentieth-century French letters.

Religious beliefs and absurdism

While writing his thesis on Plotinus and Saint Augustine of Hippo, Camus became very strongly influenced by their works, especially that of St. Augustine. In his work, Confessions (consisting of 13 books), Augustine promotes the idea of a connection between God and the rest of the world. Camus identified with the idea that a personal experience could become a reference point for his philosophical and literary writings. Camus later came to tout the idea that the absence of religious belief can simultaneously be accompanied by a longing for "salvation and meaning". This line of thinking presented an ostensible paradox and became a major thread in defining the idea of absurdism in Camus's writings.

Education:

BA Philosophy, University of Algiers (1935)
MA Philosophy, University of Algiers (1936)

Occupation and Career:

Albert Camus was French novelist, essayist, play writer and journalist.
In 1951, he published The Rebel, a philosophical analysis of rebellion and revolution which expressed his rejection of communism. Upsetting many of his colleagues and contemporaries in France, the book brought about the final split with Sartre. The dour reception depressed Camus; he began to translate plays. In the 1950s, Camus devoted his efforts to human rights. In 1952, he resigned from his work for UNESCO when the UN accepted Spain as a member under the leadership of General Franco. In 1953, he criticized Soviet methods to crush a workers' strike in East Berlin. In 1956, he protested against similar methods in Poland (protests in Poznań) and the Soviet repression of the Hungarian revolution in October. Camus maintained his pacifism and resisted capital punishment anywhere in the world. He wrote an essay against capital punishment in collaboration with Arthur Koestler, the writer, intellectual and founder of the League against Capital Punishment. From 1955 to 1956, Camus wrote for L'Express. In 1957 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature "for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times", not for his novel The Fall, published the previous year, but for his writings against capital punishment in the essay "Réflexions sur la Guillotine" (Reflections on the Guillotine). When he spoke to students at the University of Stockholm, he defended his apparent inactivity in the Algerian question; he stated that he was worried about what might happen to his mother, who still lived in Algeria. This led to further ostracism by French left-wing intellectuals.

Awards /Honors:

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”. He was the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, after Rudyard Kipling, and the first African-born writer to receive the award.

Books:

Novels

  • The Stranger (L'Étranger, often translated as The Outsider) (1942)
  • The Plague (La Peste) (1947)
  • The fall (La Chute) (1956)
  • A Happy Death (La Mort heureuse) (written 1936–1938, published posthumously 1971)
  • The First Man (Le premier homme) (incomplete, published posthumously 1995)

Short stories

  • Exile and the Kingdom (L'exil et le royaume) (collection) (1957)
  • "The Adulterous Woman" ("La Femme adultère")
  • "The Renegade or a Confused Spirit" ("Le Renégat ou un esprit confus")
  • "The Silent Men" ("Les Muets")
  • "The Guest" ("L'Hôte")
  • "Jonas or the Artist at Work" ("Jonas ou l’artiste au travail")
  • "The Growing Stone" ("La Pierre qui pousse")

Non-fiction books

  • Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism (1935)
  • Betwixt and Between (L'envers et l'endroit, also translated as The Wrong Side and the Right Side) (Collection, 1937)
  • Nuptials (Noces) (1938)
  • The Myth of Sisyphus (Le Mythe de Sisyphe) (1942)
  • The Rebel (L'Homme révolté) (1951)
  • Notebooks 1935–1942 (Carnets, mai 1935 — fevrier 1942) (1962)
  • Notebooks 1943–1951 (1965)
  • Notebooks 1951–1959 (2008) Published as "Carnets Tome III : Mars 1951 – December 1959" (1989)

Other works

Plays

  • Caligula (performed 1945, written 1938)
  • Requiem for a Nun (Requiem pour une nonne, adapted from William Faulkner's novel by the same name) (1956)
  • The Misunderstanding (Le Malentendu) (1944)
  • The State of Siege (L' Etat de Siege) (1948)
  • The Just Assassins (Les Justes) (1949)
  • The Possessed (Les Possédés, adapted from Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel by the same name) (1959)

Essays

Create Dangerously (Essay on Realism and Artistic Creation) (1957) The Ancient Greek Tragedy (Parnassos lecture in Greece) (1956) The Crisis of Man (Lecture at Columbia University) (1946) Why Spain? (Essay for the theatrical play L' Etat de Siege) (1948) Reflections on the Guillotine (Réflexions sur la guillotine) (Extended essay, 1957) Neither Victims Nor Executioners (Combat) (1946)

Collected essays

  • Resistance, Rebellion, and Death (1961) – a collection of essays selected by the author
  • Lyrical and Critical Essays (1970)
  • Youthful Writings (1976)
  • Between Hell and Reason: Essays from the Resistance Newspaper "Combat", 1944–1947 (1991)
  • Camus at "Combat": Writing 1944–1947 (2005)
  • Albert Camus Contre la Peine de Mort (2011)

Death, place of death, Time of death, place of burial:

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 and buried in Lourmarin Cemetery, Lourmarin, France.

Quotes and Memoirs:

  • Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
  • In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
  • Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
  • Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
  • A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession.
  • An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.
  • Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.
  • Don't believe your friends when they ask you to be honest with them. All they really want is to be maintained in the good opinion they have of themselves.

References:
http://www.gradesaver.com/author/albert-camus/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Camus
http://www.egs.edu/library/albert-camus/biography/
http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ca-Ch/Camus-Albert.html
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/albert_camus.html