Author bio

Albert Camus

Albert Camus - book author

Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work. Of semi-proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest in philosophy (only chance prevented him from pursuing a university career in that field), he came to France at the age of twenty-five. The man and the times met: Camus joined the resistance movement during the occupation and after the liberation was a columnist for the newspaper Combat. But his journalistic activities had been chiefly a response to the demands of the time; in 1947 Camus retired from political journalism and, besides writing his fiction and essays, was very active in the theatre as producer and playwright (e.g., Caligula, 1944). He also adapted plays by Calderon, Lope de Vega, Dino Buzzati, and Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun. His love for the theatre may be traced back to his membership in L'Equipe, an Algerian theatre group, whose "collective creation" Révolte dans les Asturies (1934) was banned for political reasons.

The essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), 1942, expounds Camus's notion of the absurd and of its acceptance with "the total absence of hope, which has nothing to do with despair, a continual refusal, which must not be confused with renouncement - and a conscious dissatisfaction". Meursault, central character of L'Étranger (The Stranger), 1942, illustrates much of this essay: man as the nauseated victim of the absurd orthodoxy of habit, later - when the young killer faces execution - tempted by despair, hope, and salvation. Dr. Rieux of La Peste (The Plague), 1947, who tirelessly attends the plague-stricken citizens of Oran, enacts the revolt against a world of the absurd and of injustice, and confirms Camus's words: "We refuse to despair of mankind. Without having the unreasonable ambition to save men, we still want to serve them". Other well-known works of Camus are La Chute (The Fall), 1956, and L'Exil et le royaume (Exile and the Kingdom), 1957. His austere search for moral order found its aesthetic correlative in the classicism of his art. He was a stylist of great purity and intense concentration and rationality.

Albert Camus is the author of books: The Stranger, The Plague, The Fall, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Rebel, Exile and the Kingdom, A Happy Death, Caligula, The First Man


Author books

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Title
Description
01
Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in English in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward.
02
A gripping tale of human unrelieved horror, of survival and resilience, and of the ways in which humankind confronts death, The Plague is at once a masterfully crafted novel, eloquently understated and epic in scope, and a parable of ageless moral resonance, profoundly relevant to our times. In Oran, a coastal town in North Africa, the plague begins as a series of portents, unheeded by the people. It gradually becomes an omnipresent reality, obliterating all traces of the past and driving its victims to almost unearthly extremes of suffering, madness, and compassion.
03
Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a successful Parisian barrister, has come to recognize the deep-seated hypocrisy of his existence. His epigrammatic and, above all, discomforting monologue gradually saps, then undermines, the reader's own complacency.
04
One of the most influential works of this century, this is a crucial exposition of existentialist thought. Influenced by works such as Don Juan, and the novels of Kafka, these essays begin with a meditation on suicide: the question of living or not living in an absurd universe devoid of order or meaning. With lyric eloquence, Camus posits a way out of despair, reaffirming the value of personal existence, and the possibility of life lived with dignity and authenticity.
05
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves—and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives—and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are. Inspired by the myth of a man condemned to ceaselessly push a rock up a mountain and watch it roll back to the valley below, The Myth of Sisyphus transformed twentieth-century philosophy with its impassioned argument for the value of life in a world without religious meaning.
06
By one of the most profoundly influential thinkers of our century, The Rebel is a classic essay on revolution. For Albert Camus, the urge to revolt is one of the "essential dimensions" of human nature, manifested in man's timeless Promethean struggle against the conditions of his existence, as well as the popular uprisings against established orders throughout history. And yet, with an eye toward the French Revolution and its regicides and deicides, he shows how inevitably the course of revolution leads to tyranny, as old regimes throughout the world collapse, The Rebel resonates as an ardent, eloquent, and supremely rational voice of conscience for our tumultuous times.

Translated from the French by Anthony Bower.
07
These six stories, written at the height of Camus' artistic powers, all depict people at decisive, revelatory moments in their lives. Translated from the French by Justin O'Brien.

The six works featured in this volume are:

"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")
08
Is it possible to die a happy death? This is the central question of Camus's astonishing early novel, published posthumously and greeted as a major literary event. It tells the story of a young Algerian, Mersault, who defies society's rules by committing a murder and escaping punishment, then experimenting with different ways of life and finally dying a happy man. In many ways A Happy Death is a fascinating first sketch for The Outsider, but it can also be seen as a candid self-portrait, drawing on Camus's memories of his youth, travels, and early relationships. It is infused with lyrical descriptions of the sun-drenched Algiers of his childhood - the place where, eventually, Mersault is able to find peace and die 'without anger, without hatred, without regret'.
09
Ange en quête d'absolu ? Monstre sanguinaire ? Avant la guerre, Albert Camus conçoit Caligula, ainsi que Sisyphe ou Meursault (L'Étranger), comme un héros de l'Absurde. En 1945, la pièce est reçue comme une fable sur les horreurs du nazisme. Ses versions et ses mises en scène successives, l'évolution de la sensibilité du public ont contribué à faire de Caligula une des figures les plus troublantes de notre théâtre. À l'image du tyran se superposent, dans notre mémoire, les visages de Gérard Philipe, qui créa le rôle, et celui d'Albert Camus, qui mêla toujours au besoin de tendresse et à l'exigence de pureté une étrange «fixation au meurtre» et «cette violence intérieure» (Jean Grenier) qui anime son empereur romain.
10
The unfinished manuscript of The First Man was discovered in the wreckage of a car accident in which Camus died in 1960. Although it was not published for over thirty years, it was an instant bestseller when it finally appeared in 1994. The 'first man' is Jacques Cormery, whose poverty-stricken childhood in Algiers is made bearable by his love for his silent and illiterate mother, and by the teacher who transforms his view of the world. The most autobiographical of Camus's novels, it gives profound insights into his life, and the powerful themes underlying his work.