albert Camusquotes

1913 - 1960

Photograph of Albert CamusFrench-Algerian novelist and essayist, Albert Camus (1913-1960) is often called a “spokesman for his generation” and a “mentor for the next.” His dominant contribution to philosophy was his reflection on the Absurd. In The Myth of Sisyphus he calls for a revolt against the futile search for the meaning of life, and to fight for values like truth, moderation and justice while creating personal meaning and autonomy.

In an era of nihilists and communists, Camus was neither and often wrote against such ideas (and often fought drunk, offended communists). During the Nazi Occupation in Paris, Camus joined a resistance movement and wrote as an underground journalist. As a political theorist, he outlined ideas for a liberal humanism that rejected Christian and Marxist dogma.

His dedicated search for moral order (The Rebel), his consistent assertion for human dignity and fraternity (The Plague) won him the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1957 at the age of 44. In characteristic modesty, Camus asserted it should have gone to André Malraux.

Perhaps surprisingly, it was as a playwright that he found the most satisfaction and personal success. His adaptations of Requiem for a Nun and Possession are his most recognized contributions to the theater.

Writing always beyond his ability, Camus said this practice inspired continual effort, but also caused personal exhaustion. He wrestled with depression, and wrote under the burden of perfectionism – never happy in his work, yet always pressing onward.

Camus died in a car accident at the age of 46; his death considered a tragic loss to literature.