Albert Camus

Topics: Albert Camus, Alice Munro, Nobel Prize Pages: 24 (8500 words) Published: May 8, 2014
Albert Camus (French: [albɛʁ kamy] ( listen); 7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay "The Rebel" that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual and sexual freedom. Although often cited as a proponent of existentialism, the philosophy with which Camus was associated during his own lifetime, he rejected this particular label.[1] In an interview in 1945, Camus rejected any ideological associations: "No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked..."[2] Camus was born in French Algeria to a Pied-Noir family. He studied at the University of Algiers, where he was goalkeeper for the university team (association football), until he contracted tuberculosis in 1930. In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement after his split with Garry Davis's Citizens of the World movement.[3] The formation of this group, according to Camus, was intended to "denounce two ideologies found in both the USSR and the USA" regarding their idolatry of technology.[4] 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".[5]

Early Years
Albert Camus was born on 7 November 1913 in Dréan (then known as Mondovi) in French Algeria to a Pied-Noir family.[6] His mother was of Spanish descent and was half-deaf.[7] His father Lucien, a poor agricultural worker, died in the Battle of the Marne in 1914 during World War I, while serving as a member of the Zouave infantry regiment.[8] Camus and his mother lived in poor conditions during his childhood in the Belcourt section of Algiers. In 1923, Camus was accepted into the lycée and eventually he was admitted to the University of Algiers. After he contracted tuberculosis in 1930, he had to end his football activities (he had been a goalkeeper for the university team) and reduce his studies to part-time. To earn money, he also took odd jobs: as private tutor, car parts clerk and assistant at the Meteorological Institute. He completed his licence de philosophie (BA) in 1935; in May 1936, he successfully presented his thesis on Plotinus, Néo-Platonisme et Pensée Chrétienne (Neo-Platonism and Christian Thought), for his diplôme d'études supérieures (roughly equivalent to an MA thesis). Camus joined the French Communist Party in the spring of 1935, seeing it as a way to "fight inequalities between Europeans and 'natives' in Algeria". He did not suggest he was a Marxist or that he had read Das Kapital, but did write, "We might see communism as a springboard and asceticism that prepares the ground for more spiritual activities."[9] In 1936, the independence-minded Algerian Communist Party (PCA) was founded. Camus joined the activities of the Algerian People's Party (Le Parti du Peuple Algérien), which got him into trouble with his Communist party comrades. As a result, in 1937 he was denounced as a Trotskyite and expelled from the party. Camus went on to be associated with the French anarchist movement. The anarchist André Prudhommeaux first introduced him at a meeting in 1948 of the Cercle des Étudiants Anarchistes (Anarchist Student Circle) as a sympathiser familiar with anarchist thought. Camus wrote for anarchist publications such as Le Libertaire, La révolution Proletarienne and Solidaridad Obrera (Workers' Solidarity, the organ of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT (National Confederation of Labor)). Camus stood with the anarchists when they expressed support for the uprising of 1953 in East Germany. He again allied with the anarchists in 1956, first in support of the workers' uprising in Poznań, Poland, and then later in the year with the Hungarian Revolution....
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