Albert Camus (7 Nov 1913 – 4 Jan 1960)


René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

Albert Camus
Drawing by David Levine

Nobel Literature Laureate Albert Camus would be 109 years old had he lived beyond the car crash which took his life in 1960 as he and another editor from the Paris publishing house, Gallimard, were driving too fast from a Christmas vacation in the south of France toward Paris.

Camus, who had been the youngest writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, had chaired the committee of support for Garry Davis’ world citizen efforts in Paris and had contributed his writing skills to the statement which Garry Davis and Robert Sarrazac read when interrupting a session of the UN General Assembly meeting in Paris in 1948 in a plea for the UN to promote world citizenship. A month later the UN General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which many saw as a reply to Garry Davis’ request as the Declaration sets the basis for world law directly of benefit to each individual.

Camus, in 1948, was still a highly regarded editorial writer for Combat which had begun life as a clandestine newspaper in 1941 when France was partly occupied by the Nazi troops, and half of France was under the control of the anti-democratic regime of Vichy. Although the Germans occupied Paris, they allowed publishing, theatre and films to continue if the German censors found nothing too overtly oppositional in them. Thus, Camus’ novel L’Etranger (The Stranger) was published in 1942 by the leading publisher, Gallimard.  This short novel is written in a style which owes something to the early style of Hemingway. L’Etranger is a cry of revolt against man-made standards of absolute morality — a theme he develops more fully in his political-philosophical book on the use of violence L’Homme révolté (1951) translated as The Rebel. (2). As he said in his acceptance of the Nobel Prize in Stockholm “the nobility of our calling will always be rooted in two commitments: refusal to lie about what we know and resistance to oppression.”


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 7 Nov 2022.

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