Albert Camus was a French-Algerian writer, born on November 7, 1913, in Mondavi, French Algeria. He became quite popular for his novels, essays, and political journalism in the 1940s. Albert Camus was best known for his absurdist works, which include The Stranger (1942) and The Plague (1947).
Albert Camus’s pied-noir family was poor. His father died in combat during World War I, leaving the young Camus to live with his partially deaf mother in a low-income district of Algiers.
Camus performed brilliantly in school and gained admission into the University of Algiers to study philosophy. While at school he played goalie for the soccer team, but a bout of tuberculosis forced him to quit the team in 1930. Hence, he concentrated on academic studies and obtained both undergraduate and graduate degrees in philosophy by 1936.
His political activism began during his student years, when he first joined the Communist Party. Then Camus went on to become a member of the Algerian People’s Party, fighting for individual rights by opposing French colonization and calling for the empowerment of Algerians in all facets of life.
At the onset of World War II, Albert Camus enlisted with the French Resistance and helped in the liberation of Paris from the Nazi occupation. It was during that period that he encountered Jean-Paul Sartre. Albert Camus, like Sartre, wrote extensively and published political commentaries on the conflict in those days. Camus was an outspoken critic of communist theory, an issue that brought a disagreement between him and Sartre. He also castigated the Americans for bombing Hiroshima.
Absurdism was the prominent philosophical element in Camus’s work. He has never been comfortable with being compared to Sartre’s existentialism. But elements of existentialism and absurdism are prevalent in his most recognizable writings, such as The Myth of Sisyphus (1942), The Stranger (1942) and The Plague (1947). Albert Camus’s works scathingly attacked the absurdity of cultural and social orthodoxies in his days.
Apart from novels, Albert Camus also wrote and adapted plays. During the 19402 and 1950s, he was very active in the theater. Camus brought into existence a distinct version of French literature that was gilded with his Algerian culture, separating it from the mainstream Parisian literature. Albert Camus’s later literary works include The Fall (1956) and Exile and the Kingdom (1957).
He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. But he died three years later in Burgundy, France on January 4, 1960.