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By David Zane Mairowitz Introducing Camus [Paperback] - David Zane Mairowitz

This book starts with the tragic scene of Albert Camus' death and ends with one of his quotes which says dying  in a car accident is a "stupid death".


Camus died on January 4, 1960 at the age of 46, in a car accident near Sens, in Le Grand Fossard in the small town of  Villeblevin. 


Albert Camus the prophet of absurdity of twentieth century was born on 7th October 1913, in Mondovi form parents who immigrated to Algeria as a place for their living. His father died a year later in battle of Marne during world war I. His mother who first was a house cleaner, after his husband's death came back to his grandmother's house shamefully. An illiterate mother who wasn't healthy. Who was always silent and never fondled him because she didn't know what that meant…he felt pity for her.


Albert Camus' last novel,The First Man, which manuscripts of it was found in a car in which he was killed in an accident, somehow is his own autobiography. A child from an emigrant family who lived in poor areas of a city. Later on this fact made him think differently about cruel colonists and low and labor class emigrants who were forced to come to another country for job.



This graphical book is a critic of his works more than his biography alone. The second investigated book is Exile and the Kingdom which is a story of a factory that after an unsuccessful strike a dark and hostile space developed between the workers and the owner. The space of this novel is symbolically an indicator of the cultural situation in Algeria which was a mixture of Arabic, French and Spanish labors. Camus loves this picture of Algeria. And this picture later on would have a great effect on his political decisions.


Unlike all other French writers, Camus did not have an intellectual past. In their house there wasn't a big library. Their grandmother governed on them strictly and made them work after school. The young Camus was in love with football and he himself said later that all his understandings of morality were formed on football ground. He had to leave football in 1930 because of his body's betrayal: He was diagnosed with tuberculosis.



Unlike many people of his century he had certain expectations from communism and never turned to Marxist – Leninist philosophy. For him, a political party was limited only to balancing the Algerian Arabic labor's situations.  


In 1938, Camus started working as an ethical journalist in Alger Républicain newspaper. He wrote of injustices. He had a special style in journalism. He used first person verbs and never forgot to sympathy with the oppressed people.


By approaching war, Camus volunteered as a soldier but was rejected because of his TB disease. He couldn't do anything else but journalism. At that time Alger Républicain  was closed and he became the editor of Soir Républicain newspaper.  But after a while he was "proposed" by the governor to leave the Algeria.  



Albert Camus presence in Paris was coincided with Hitler's army entrance to soil of France. Camus started his activity at Paris Soir newspaper and it was there where he began his three of greatest works in absurd philosophy: The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus and Caligula.


MOTHER died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure. The telegram from the Home says: YOUR MOTHER PASSED AWAY.FUNERAL TOMORROW.DEEP SYMPATHY. Which leaves the matter doubtful; it could have been yesterday.



The absurd protagonist of The Stranger doesn't have any feeling for his mother's death. Meursault smokes and drinks coffee next to his mother's coffin.


When the Nazi Germany occupied half of France, the young Camus didn't cooperate with them. At that time he performed his last modifications on his second greatest work , The Myth of Sisyphus that he was working on it for more than 5 years.


There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide.


This book wasn't written without being impressed by political situations of its own time. In fact this book was a reflection of fascism threat on global system. The main question of Camus is that without any moral and spiritual reference, what should be done against the huge wave of irrationality?


The third work of Camus is Caligula which was known as his most famous play. Caligula can be a symbol of Hitler . When he realized that the world is absurd starts a mass destruction. Unlike Muersault who couldn't change the world, Caligula was so powerful.


Since 1942, Camus joined Combat, an anti-Fascist group and worked as a journalist in a newpaper with the same name. the first issue of the newspaper in Paris with its famous headline, From Resistance to Revolution had a strong unsigned article in its first page:


Paris is firing all its ammunition into the August night. Against a vast backdrop of water and stone, on both sides of a river awash with history, freedom's barricades are once again being erected. Once again justice must be redeemed with men's blood.


The clear Rhetoric of the article revealed the author.


In 1943, the Nazis occupied the southern region of France. Camus analogizes their presence in France to Plague in his new and famous novel.


In 1945 by atomic attack of America to Japan, while many of journalists and writers were silent, Camus was the only person who had an active and clear position:


 Mechanical civilization has just reached its final degree of savagery.  We are going to have to choose, in a future that is more or less imminent, between collective suicide and the intelligent use of scientific conquests.


Albert Camus' friendship with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir was formed in Café Flore. Despite his steady companionship with them, Camus never considered himself an Existentialist.



In his after war headlines, the word "rebel" is seen repetitively after "Absurd" word. This word finally became the title of a book which was published in 1951.


In absurdist experience, suffering is individual. But from the moment when a movement of rebellion begins, suffering is seen as a collective experience.


He exhibited the rebellion phenomenon first in a novel, The Plague then in a philosophical work, The Rebel and finally as a play, The Just Assassins.


After publishing The Rebel, Camus was criticized sharply followed by the famous letter of Jean-Paul Sartre that by a quarrel their friendship ended.


In war of Algeria, Camus because of his attachment to that country (still his mother and sister lived there) had a discrete approach. He believed in a peaceful coexistence of French descent Algerians (that finally had to leave this country) and native Arabs. But this beliefs were denied both by many Arab and French people. He published The Guest  which was related to these political situations.


The last novel by Albert Camus which was published in final years of his life is The Fall  which according to many critics like Sartre is his best work.


In 1975, Camus published a book which was obviously beyond his time: Reflections on Guillotine. In this book, he called Guillotine "The sadistic essence of government". Camus writes about the death penalty as a relic of the past:


The criminal is killed because he has been killed for centuries, and furthermore he is killed according to a procedure established at the end of the eighteenth century. The same arguments that have served as legal tender for centuries are perpetuated as a matter of routine, contradicted only by those measures which the evolution of public sensibility renders inevitable.



My note:


Having read almost all of the books mentioned above and intending to read The Rebel soon, I really didn't know that Albert Camus was such a great man…I love him.