Before his sudden and tragic death in a car accident in Villeblevin, France, at the young age of 47, Algerian-born French philosopher, author and journalist Albert Camus (1913-1960) was one of the 20th century’s most-prominent literary gems.
His earlier years in Algeria and his philosophical insights were the main inspiration behind his work. He is best known for his views on absurdism and his novels The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus.
Here are 7 facts about Albert Camus and his journey as an astounding writer:
1. He was the first White African to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature
Albert Camus was the first White African to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957 “for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times.”
2. Camus adored football
“After many years during which I saw many things, what I know most surely about morality and the duty of man I owe to sport and learned it in the RUA,” Camus once said.
He had played as a goalkeeper for the Racing Universitaire Algerios’ football team until he contracted tuberculosis at the age of 18.
3. He preferred to write standing up
Like some of the world’s best wordsmiths, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf, Albert Camus, too, liked writing while standing up.
4. This infamous quote of his sparked great controversy
During a press conference, an Algerian asked Camus on the country’s ongoing revolution, to which he replied: “People are now planting bombs in the tramways of Algiers. My mother might be on one of those tramways. If that is justice, then I prefer my mother.”
This quote was later shortened in Le Monde to: “Between justice and my mother, I choose my mother.”
As stated in Camus’ Algerian Chronicles, the French-Algerian author was not opposed to the idea of the revolution, only to the terrorism that came hand-in-hand with it.
5. He was raised by two women
He lived with his mother, Catherine Helene Sintes-Camus, who worked as a cleaning lady, and his grandmother Madame Sintes.
Camus was raised in poverty and had to work several odd jobs to provide for himself and his studies.
6. His son suggests his late father would object comparison with Victor Hugo, Rousseau, and Voltaire
Back in 2010, on Camus’ 50th death anniversary, then-President of France Nicolas Sarkozy suggested that “Camus’s remains be re-interred inside the Panthéon alongside other giants of French literature including Victor Hugo, Rousseau, and Voltaire,” according to The Guardian.
An idea that Camus’ son believed wouldn’t satisfy his late father.
7. His father died in the Battle of the Marne
Camus’ father was killed in the Battle of the Marne in 1914 against the German armies in the west.
The death penalty had a strong influence on Camus’ writing after he learned that his father had witnessed one in his lifetime.
by Manna Ayman