Albert Camus

Easton Press Albert Camus books

The Plague
The Stranger - The Collector's Library of Famous Editions - 1993
The Myth of Sisyphus and other Essays

Franklin Library Albert Camus books

Exile and the Kingdom - Collected Stories of the World's Greatest Writers - 1980

Author Albert Camus

Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a French philosopher, author, and Nobel Prize-winning novelist known for his profound contributions to existentialism and his exploration of the absurdity of human existence. Born on November 7, 1913, in Mondovi, French Algeria (now known as Dréan), Camus spent his early years in poverty after his father's death in World War I. Despite facing financial challenges, Camus excelled academically and earned a scholarship to study at the University of Algiers. He initially pursued studies in philosophy but switched to literature, journalism, and theater, eventually becoming involved in the intellectual and literary circles of Algiers.

Camus's breakthrough came with the publication of his first novel, The Stranger (L'Étranger), in 1942. This novel, considered a classic of existential literature, tells the story of Meursault, an emotionally detached and indifferent man who becomes embroiled in a senseless act of violence. Meursault's existential indifference and the novel's exploration of the absurdity of life established Camus as a significant literary figure. In 1947, Camus published another influential work, The Plague (La Peste), an allegorical novel that explores the impact of an epidemic on a fictional Algerian town. The novel delves into themes of suffering, death, and the human response to adversity. Camus's philosophical essay, The Myth of Sisyphus (Le Mythe de Sisyphe), published in 1942, further articulated his philosophical stance on the absurd. In this essay, he famously declares that "The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." The essay reflects on the human condition and the pursuit of meaning in a seemingly indifferent universe.

The Fall

The Fall (La Chute) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1956. It is one of Camus's later works and is considered a philosophical novel that explores themes of guilt, morality, and the human condition. The novel is narrated by its central character, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a former Parisian lawyer who recounts his life and experiences to an unnamed interlocutor in a seedy bar in Amsterdam. The narrative unfolds as a monologue, with Clamence serving as both the narrator and the protagonist. Clamence, once a successful and morally self-assured lawyer, undergoes a profound transformation. The novel is structured as a series of confessions, as Clamence reveals the darker aspects of his past and his own moral failings.

The title, The Fall, carries multiple layers of meaning. On one level, it refers to Clamence's literal fall into the River Seine, an event that becomes a metaphor for his moral descent. However, the title also alludes to the broader human condition, suggesting a fall from a state of innocence or moral certainty. The novel addresses existential themes, examining the nature of guilt and the consequences of living in a world without inherent meaning. Clamence grapples with his own hypocrisy, acknowledging the disparity between his professed moral values and his actions. The narrative is infused with a sense of isolation and the idea that individuals are ultimately alone in facing the consequences of their choices. Camus's exploration of guilt and moral responsibility in The Fall reflects his broader philosophical concerns, particularly his engagement with existentialism and the absurd. The novel is often seen as a continuation of the themes present in Camus's earlier works, such as The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus.

The Fall is celebrated for its complex narrative structure, rich symbolism, and profound philosophical reflections. It remains a significant work in existential literature and is studied for its exploration of the complexities of human morality and the consequences of moral indifference. The novel contributes to Albert Camus's legacy as a writer who grappled with the fundamental questions of existence and morality in the face of an indifferent universe.

In 1957, Albert Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, recognizing his significant literary contributions and moral engagement. However, he distanced himself from political ideologies, including communism and existentialism, leading to tensions with other intellectuals of his time, such as Jean-Paul Sartre. Tragically,

Albert Camus's death

Albert Camus met his untimely death in a car accident on January 4, 1960, near the town of Villeblevin in France. He was 46 years old at the time. The accident occurred when the car, driven by his publisher and friend Michel Gallimard, skidded off the icy road and collided with a tree. Camus was killed instantly, while Gallimard survived with injuries. The circumstances surrounding Camus's death have led to speculation and discussion over the years. Some have suggested that the accident was the result of reckless driving, while others have pointed to the icy road conditions as a significant factor. The exact cause remains uncertain, and the circumstances of the accident continue to be a subject of interest and debate among scholars and readers.

Camus's death marked a tragic end to the life of one of the 20th century's most influential and thought-provoking writers. His philosophical and literary contributions, including works like The Stranger, The Fall, and his essays on existentialism and the absurd, continue to be widely studied and admired. Despite his premature death, Albert Camus left behind a lasting legacy, and his impact on literature and philosophy endures. His legacy endures through his thought-provoking writings, which continue to inspire readers and scholars alike, and his exploration of the human experience in the face of an indifferent and often absurd world.

The Plague

The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947.

It tells the story from the point of view of a narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. The narrator remains unknown until the start of the last chapter, chapter 5 of part 5. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author's distinctive absurdist point of view.

The book tells 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.

The Plague is considered an existentialist classic despite Camus' objection to the label. The novel stresses the powerlessness of the individual characters to affect their destinies. The narrative tone is similar to Kafka's, especially in The Trial, whose individual sentences potentially have multiple meanings; the material often pointedly resonating as stark allegory of phenomenal consciousness and the human condition.

The Stranger

Published in 1942 by French author Albert Camus, The Stranger has long been considered a classic of twentieth-century literature. Le Monde ranks it as number one on its "100 Books of the Century" list. Through this story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on a sundrenched Algerian beach, Camus explores what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd."

The Myth of Sisyphus

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.

Exile and the Kingdom

These 6 stories, written at the height of Camus' artistic powers, all depict people at decisive, revelatory moments in their lives.
Titles include:
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)

From a variety of masterfully rendered perspectives, these six stories depict people at painful odds with the world around them. A wife can only surrender to a desert night by betraying her husband. An artist struggles to honor his own aspirations as well as society's expectations of him. A missionary brutally converted to the worship of a tribal fetish is left with but an echo of his identity. Whether set in North Africa, Paris, or Brazil, the stories in Exile and the Kingdom are probing portraits of spiritual exile, and man’s perpetual search for an inner kingdom in which to be reborn. They display Camus at the height of his powers.



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