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Camus

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 03 January 2008

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Algerian-French writer and Existentialist philosopher Albert Camus.

Shortly after the new year of 1960, a powerful sports car crashed in the French town of Villeblevin in Burgundy, killing two of its occupants. One was the publisher Michel Gallimard; the other was the writer Albert Camus. In Camus’ pocket was an unused train ticket and in the boot of the car his unfinished autobiography The First Man. Camus was 46.

Born in Algeria in 1913, Camus became a working class hero and icon of the French Resistance. His friendship with Sartre has been well documented, as has their falling out; and although Camus has been dubbed both an Absurdist and Existentialist philosopher, he denied he was even a philosopher at all, preferring to think of himself as a writer who expressed the realities of human existence. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, Camus’ legacy is a rich one, as an author of plays, novels and essays, and as a political thinker who desperately sought a peaceful solution to the War for Independence in his native Algeria.

With Peter Dunwoodie, Professor of French Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London; David Walker, Professor of French at the University of Sheffield; Christina Howells, Professor of French at Wadham College, University of Oxford.

  • Further Reading

    ARONSON, Ronald, Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004)

    BRAUN, Lev, Albert Camus: Witness of Decline (1974)

    BRÉE, Germaine, Albert Camus (1959)

    CARROLL, David, Albert Camus the Algerian: Colonialism, Terrorism, Justice (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007)

    CRUICKSHANK, John, Albert Camus and the Literature of Revolt (1960)

    DUNWOODIE, Peter, Writing French Algeria (Oxford: Clarendon, 1998)

    ELLISON, David, Understanding Albert Camus (Columbia: Uni. of South Carolina Press, 1990)

    FREEMAN, Edward, The Theatre of Albert Camus: A Critical Study (1971)

    HANNA, Thomas, The Thought and Art of Albert Camus (1958)

    HUGHES, E.J., The Cambridge Companion to Camus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

    LONGSTAFFE, Moya, The Fiction of Albert Camus: A Complex Simplicity (Oxford/Bern, Peter Lang, 2007)

  • .

    LOTTMAN, Herbert, Albert Camus: A Biography (1979)

    McCARTHY, Patrick, Camus: A Critical Study of his Life and Work (1982)

    MASTERS, Brian, Camus: A Study (1974)

    O’BRIEN, Conor Cruise, Camus (1970)

    PARKER, Emmett, Albert Camus: the Artist in the Arena (1965)

    RIZZUTO, Anthony, Camus: Love and Sexuality (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998)

    SAGI, Avi, Albert Camus and the Philosophy of the Absurd (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002)

    SOLOMON, Robert C, Grim Thoughts: Experience and Reflection in Camus and Sartre (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006)

    THODY, Philip, Albert Camus 1913-1960 (1961)

    TODD, Olivier, Albert Camus: A Life, trans. B. Ivry (New York: Knopf, 1997)

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