Albert Camus

(1913-1960), French

Albert Camus wrote essays, plays, fiction, and non-fiction. He is regarded as one of the leading Existentialist philosophers and absurdist thinkers. Albert Camus is remembered as one of the best existentialist writers and as a leading thinker of his age. His best-known works are The Stranger’, also known as ‘The Outsider’, as well as the essay ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’. 

Life Facts

  • Albert Camus was born in Mondovi, French Algeria in November of 1957
  • Camus had a passion for theatre and he worked for the Théâtre du Travail
  • He volunteered to join the army but was rejected due to his TB
  • ‘L’Etranger’ was published in 1942
  • He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. 

Interesting Facts

  • Camus was friends with Jean-Paul Sartre. 
  • He was the second-youngest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. 
  • Camus was part of the French residence during WWII. 
  • He died in a tragic car crash. 
  • Due to a lack of paper, The Stranger was almost not published. 

Famous Books by Albert Camus

‘The Stranger’ is certainly Camus’ best-known novel. It follows the absurdist sorry of Meursault, a strange and unhappy man living in Algeria, who moves through his life without purpose and then eventually commits a murder. The novel is seen as a leading work of the existentialist movement. The Plague’ was published in 1947 and explores a plague that consumes a city in Algiers. It focuses more on the crisis of the moment rather than the illness itself. He was interested in exploring the struggle between life and death and what human beings will do to try to control their own fate. The Myth of Sisyphus’ is a very famous essay that was published in 1942 and outlines Camus’ beliefs about the absurd. Humans must, he wrote, continue to live knowing that there is nothing they can do to avoid their ultimate fate. The Fall’ is Camus’ last work of fiction that was published four years before his death and a year before he won the Nobel Prize. It follows the story of Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a lawyer who delivers the story of his life. The book is made up of a series of monologues that explore his successes and failures. The Rebel’ is an essay on rebellion. Camus explores why people rebel and how the act of rebellion has changed in the modern world. He comes to the conclusion that people do so because they are always seeking out meaning, or at least a meaning to their own lives. 

Early Life

Albert Camus was born in Mondovi, French Algeria in November of 1957. His father was killed less than a year after he was born in the First Battle of the Marne during World War I. The remaining family members moved to Algiers where they lived with their grandmother and uncle in a small apartment. 
In 1918 he started school and managed to get a scholarship to a high school in 1923. He expressed a love for sports, such as football and boxing but also suffered from TB which quickly put an end to the prospects of a sporting career. He then registered as a philosophy student at the University of Algiers. He was deeply influenced by his teacher, Jean Grenier, who helped establish the basis for Camus’ future writings. 

Literary Career

He wrote his thesis on the writings of Plotinus and St. Augustine. Unfortunately, he suffered from another attack of tuberculosis and was unable to proceed with his agrégation or qualification to become a university teacher. Rather than stay home, he travels to the Alps and then on to Florence and other cities in Italy. 
Camus had a passion for theatre and he worked for the Théâtre du Travail writing, producing, and acting. He wrote plays that are still read to this day, two of these are ‘Le Malentendu’ and ‘Caligula’. Only years before the outbreak of WWII, Camus was working as a journalist and reviewer. He volunteered to join the army but was rejected due to his TB. In 1940, after fleeing France, h married Francine Faure. During this period, which was also spent in the French Alps, he wrote ‘The Plague’ and ‘The Misunderstanding’. The latter was a play and the former a novel.  In 1943, he met and befriended Jean-Paul Sartre. This relationship led him to others, such as André Breton and Simone de Beauvoir. During the war, Camus worked with the resistance movement, writing for and editing a newspaper called ‘Combat’. At this point in his career, Camus was starting to become something of a celebrity in the literary world. ‘The Stranger’, or ‘L’Etranger’, was published in 1942. This short novel, along with his essay ‘Le Mythe de Sisyphe’ are the two literary works for which he is best known. The latter is an analysis of nihilism and the absurd. 


It was in 1957 that Camus received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Camus died in 1960 at the age of forty-six in a car accident in the town of Villeblevin. He wasn’t wearing a seat belt and died instantly. He was buried in the Lourmarin Cemetery in Vaucluse, France.

Influence from other Writers

Albert Camus was notably influenced by writers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Fydor Dostoevsky, and Simone de Beauvoir.

Literature by Albert Camus

Explore literature by Albert Camus below, created by the team at Book Analysis.