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Albert Camus

  French novelist, essayist, and playwright, Albert Camus was born in 1913. His father died the following year in the war. His early experiences in Algeria dominated his thought and work, as can be witnessed in from his first novel "The Stranger" published in 1942 to his last, Exile and the Kingdom, in 1957. Like many of his contemporaries, he was disillusion from the violent wars of Europe. His novels and philosophical texts attack similar issues: the profound isolation of humankind in an alien, uncaring universe, an isolation which results in estrangement of the individual from himself and ultimately evil between men. Can there be meaning and truth to such an existence? Ironically his life was cut short by an automobile accident in 1960. He received the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature.

 

  The Stranger

The Stranger is not merely one of the most widely read novels of the 20th century, but one of the books likely to outlive it. Written in 1946, Camus's compelling and troubling tale of a disaffected, apparently amoral young man has earned a durable popularity (and remains a staple of U.S. high school... Read more

 


  The Plague

The Nobel prize-winning Albert Camus, who died in 1960, could not have known how grimly current his existentialist novel of epidemic and death would remain. Set in Algiers, in northern Africa, The Plague is a powerful study of human life and its meaning in the face of a deadly virus that sweeps... Read more

 


  The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (Vintage International)

Sartre said this book should be read as you read The Stranger, and I have found that advice to be valuable to my students. My kids are always a bit bewildered about the scene where Mersault kills the Arab, but when they read, "The greatest good is the greatest consciousness," they begin to... Read more

 


  The Fall

Elegantly styled, Camus' profoundly disturbing novel of a Parisian lawyer's confessions is a searing study of modern amorality. Read more

 


More books by Albert Camus

articles and reviews

from THE NEW YORK TIMES- April 26, 1994

Camus's Last Work, a First Draft, Shows His Life and His Style

By ALAN RIDING, Special to The New York Times PARIS, April 25

Inside a mud-stained briefcase found near the site of the car crash that killed Albert Camus on Jan. 4, 1960, were 144 pages of almost indecipherable handwriting that made up the first draft of the early chapters of a novel based closely on his life.

His widow, Francine, decided against publication. Camus had won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1957, but at the time of his death at the age of 46 he was on poor terms with Jean-Paul Sartre and other Left Bank luminaries, and she feared publication of the rough text would expose him to more attacks... [more]


from THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS - January 15, 1998

The Outsider

A review of Albert Camus: A Life by Olivier Todd and translated from the French by Benjamin Ivry

It has to be said that this English version of Olivier Todd's book is not altogether satisfactory. According to an introductory note, "Some material not of sufficient interest to the American general reader has been omitted to improve the narrative flow." Actually, a volume some 800 pages long in French has been reduced to 400 pages in English, and it is difficult to tell on what principle the abridgement has been made, because the sections that have been removed often seem of no less importance or interest than those that have been left in. Besides, if the American reader bothers to read foreign books, it is surely in the hope of discovering the possible interest of things with which he is not already familiar... [more]


from THE NEW YORK TIMES- October 6, 1996

Stricken

By Stephen Spender

A review of 'The Plague"

''The Plague'' is parable and sermon, and should be considered as such. To criticize it by standards which apply to most fiction would be to risk condemning it for moralizing, which is exactly where it is strongest. ''The Plague'' stands or falls by its message. The message is not the highest form of creative art, but it may be of such importance for our time that to dismiss it in the name of artistic criticism would be to blaspheme against the human spirit. What we have to judge is the urgency, for us, of M. Camus' morality. It seems to me to be of so much urgency that we would be wrong to ask how much significance people may attach to it tomorrow. There are certain things which need to be said now, without care for the future, and these are said, even with naivete, in ''The Plague.'' ... [more]

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