Hi everyone !

We all have that one author or artist we hold dear to our heart. Mine’s Albert Camus. I’d been wanting to write an article about Camus for a while now, but I was unsure about how to proceed because he’s such a big inspiration and writing something that conveyed his spirit well was crucial to me. I’ve always connected to his books easily, his tone and writing style always spoke to me in a way no other author’s did. His works dealt with the human condition, the absurdity of life and feelings such as honesty, doubt and the pursuit of happiness. Camus also had a way to describe Mediterranean landscapes and convey emotions through scenery that I’ve always admired.

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But I digress, so here’s a “little” presentation of my favorite author:

Albert Camus was a french author and philosopher born in Mondovi, Algeria in 1913. He’s one of the most famous french writers of the 20th century, and is often studied in school (which is how I discovered him in the first place). He adhered to the absurdist philosophy and was extremely involved in politics throughout his life. Indeed he was a journalist for the French resistance during the Occupation as he wrote for the journal Combat. Camus wrote many books but his most well-known ones are probably The Stranger, The Plague and The Myth of Sisyphus.

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Favorite works

“Je m’ouvrais pour la première fois à la tendre indifférence du monde […] j’ai senti que j’avais été heureux, et que je l’étais encore.” - The Stranger

First of all, I cannot begin this section without talking about the first book that introduced me to Camus years ago: The Stranger. The book follows the story of Meursault, a french man living in Algeria whose mother just died. This event triggers the rest of the story and introduces us to Meursault’s feelings and the way he leads his life, which will cause his own death in the end. Themes such as the sun and its heat are omnipresent in this novel. The main character’s consciousness of the irrationality and absurdity of life, the fact that he doesn’t want to play his part in society and his obsession with truth is what makes The Stranger a groundbreaking book.

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“Avec tant de soleil dans la mémoire, comment ai-je pu parier sur le non-sens ?” - L’été

Next up: L’été. This book perfectly shows Camus’ style and the power his words carry. In this essay he leads us on a journey through Algeria, Oman and Greece. He discusses their history, the unique atmosphere these places convey and once again the absurdity of life through those vivid landscapes. I greatly enjoyed reading this book that truly felt like a travel of its own: the way the author describes the sunlight, the trees and the sea felt almost real to me, as if I was there to see it all.

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“L’art n’est pas à mes yeux une réjouissance solitaire […] Il oblige donc l’artiste à ne pas s’isoler ; il le soumet à la vérité la plus humble et la plus universelle.” - Discours de Suède

And thirdly, Camus’ Discours de Suède. This book is actually the speeches Camus pronounced when he received the Nobel Prize of literature in December 1957 in Sweden. I chose to talk about this work because it is very relevant today and displays a very sincere description of art and its value. Indeed Camus basically says that an artist’s voice is powerful and essentially free. But it also has obligations to others and must be focused on solidarity, and seeking justice and truth, because art without significance is nothing.

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Camus’ legacy

Albert Camus was big on self questioning and advocated for living life to its fullest despite the absurdity of it. In fact, instead of searching for the meaning of life, we should all acknowledge there isn’t one and build our own true values. His legacy will always be relevant because humans will only keep evolving as long as they question themselves and the choices they make. I admire how his works are sort of lessons that we can benefit even nowadays, like his take on hate which is symbolized as a spreading disease in The Plague. Revolting was incredibly important to him especially as an artist whose words could influence lots of people, which is very admirable to me. I absolutely think Albert Camus’ works changed me and shifted my perspective on life and the human condition, which is what pushed me to write this article about him, in hopes that it could maybe inspire you to read some of his novels.

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Finally if you’re interested in learning more about Camus, here’s a link to an incredible documentary—it’s in French though—about his life, his family and his art:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4cIw05GiH0

That’s it for this article, thanks for reading ! 🌟💕

See you next Thursday
-Sophie