"In a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. The divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity."

"To become god is merely to be free on this earth, not to serve an immortal being. Above all, of course,it is drawing all the inferences from that painful independence."

                                                                                                                            - Albert Camus

About Albert Camus (1913-1960)

Camus was a French philosophical novelist and essayist who was also a prose poet and the conscience of his times. He was born and raised in Algeria, and his experiences as a fatherless, tubercular youth, as a young playwright and journalist in Algiers, and later in the anti-German resistance in Paris during World War II informed everything he wrote. His best-known writings are not overtly political; his most famous works, the novel The Stranger (written in 1940, published in 1942) and his book-length essay The Myth of Sisyphus (written in 1941, published in 1943) explore the notion of "the absurd," which Camus alternatively describes as the human condition and as "a widespread sensitivity of our times." The absurd, briefly defined, is the confrontation with ourselves--with our demands for rationality and justice--and an "indifferent universe." Sisyphus, who was condemned by the gods to the endless, futile task of rolling a rock up a mountain (whence it would roll back down of its own weight), this becomes an exemplar of the human condition, struggling hopelessly and pointlessly to achieve something. The odd antihero of The Stranger, on the other hand, unconsciously accepts the absurdity of life. He makes no judgments, accepts the most repulsive characters as his freinds and neighbors, and remains unmoved by the death of his mother and his own killing of a man. Facing execution for his crime, he "opens his heart to the benign indifference of the universe."

But such stoic acceptance is not the message of Camus' philosophy. Sisyphus thrives (he is even "happy") by virtue of his scorn and defiance of the gods, and by virtue of a "rebellion" that refuses to give in to despair. This same theme motivates Camus' later novel, The Plague (1947), and his long essay The Rebel (1951). In his last work, however, a novel called The Fall published in 1956, the year before he won the Nobel prize for literature, Camus presents an unforgettably perverse character named Jean-Baptiste Clamence, who exemplifies all the bitterness and despair rejected by his previous characters and in his earlier essays. Clamence, like the character in The Stranger, refuses to judge people, but whereas Meursault (the "stranger") is incapable of judgment, Clamence (who was once a lawyer) makes it a matter of philosophical principle, "for who among us is innocent?" It is unclear where Camus' thinking was heading when he was killed in an automobile accidence (with his publisher, who walked away unharmed).

(Excerpt from Robert Audi, ed., The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, 1995).


Albert Camus, Winner of the 1957 Nobel Prize in Literature, at the Nobel Prize Internet Archive
Albert Camus Critical Interpretation Home Page by Paul M. Willenberg
Katharena's Camus page
Camus page by Corduroy
Christopher Scott Wyatt's Camus page
Short bio of Camus
A Page about Albert Camus
Camus page
Camus at "Philosophers and Philosophy" site
Solitaire Et Solidaire---An Interview With Catherine Camus
"Camus' 'First Man," a Masterpiece in the Making" by Richard Dyer, Boston Globe
"Camus' 'Stranger' Brings $175,000" by AP, Boston Globe
"Youthful Writings: The First Camus" by Paul Vaillaneix
"The Absurde Man" by Albert Camus
"The Myth of Sysiphus" by Albert Camus
"Ephemeral Creation" by Albert Camus
"The Minotaur" by Albert Camus
"Between Yes & No" by Albert Camus
"Contradictions" by Albert Camus
"Back Again to Myself" by Albert Camus
Caligula - a play by Albert Camus
Camus quotations
More Camus quotations
Summary of Albert Camus' The Plague by Jim Newcombe
"Reader Response Criticism: The Stranger" by Paul Willenberg
"Sysiphus' Fate" by Paul Willenberg
"Memory & Imagination: Borges' Funes vs Meursault" by Paul Willenberg
"The Individuality of Mersault" by Kevin Meboe
"The Egoism of Max Stirner" by Sidney Parker
"Incompetent Texts in Camus, Sartre, & Celine" by David Anderson
"Order in Sartre & Camus" by David Anderson
"The Absurd Hero" by Bob Lane
"Aids & The Moral Education of Social Workers" by Joseph W. Lella
"Farewells To Justice, God, Politics And The European Way" by David Cook
"The Last Camus" by David Cook
"Curing the Canon" by Steven Rubio
"Individual Anarchy in Albert Camus' Short Story, The Guest" by Uncle Buster
Photos of Camus


Between Hell and Reason : Essays from the Resistance Newspaper 'Combat', 1944-1947
by Albert Camus, Alexandre De Gramont (Translator), Elisabeth Young-Bruehl
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Caligula and Three Other Plays
by Albert Camus, Stuart Gilbert (Translator)
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Exile and the Kingdom
by Albert Camus, Erroll McDonald (Editor)
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The Fall
by Albert Camus, Justin O'Brien (Translator), Erroll McDonald (Editor)
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The First Man
by Albert Camus, Sarah Burnes (Editor), David Hapgood (Translator), Catherine Camus
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A Happy Death
by Albert Camus, Richard Howard (Translator)
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Lyrical and Critical Essays
by Albert Camus
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The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (Vintage International)
by Albert Camus, Justin O'Brien (Translator), Erroll McDonald (Editor)
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Notebooks 1935-1951
by Albert Camus, Philip Malcolm Waller Thody, Justin O'Brien
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The Plague
by Albert Camus, Stuart Gilbert (Translator)
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The Rebel : An Essay on Man in Revolt
by Albert Camus, Erroll McDonald (Editor)
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Resistance, Rebellion, and Death
by Albert Camus, Justin O'Brien (Translator)
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The Stranger
by Albert Camus, Matthew Ward (Translator)
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Albert Camus : A Life
by Olivier Todd, Benjamin Ivry (Translator), Clivier Todd
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Albert Camus's the Stranger (Barron's Book Notes)
by Lewis Warsh, Tessa Krailing, Albert Camus
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Arendt, Camus, and Modern Rebellion
by Jeffrey C. Isaac
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Camus: Portrait of a Moralist
by Bronner Stephen, Stephen Eric Bronner
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