Albert Camus: A Life
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In this vibrant, engaging biography of Albert Camus, the internationally acclaimed author of The Stranger, The Plague, and The Fall, French writer and journalist Olivier Todd has richly tapped resources never before available—personal correspondence, notebooks, public records, as well as exclusive interviews with Camus's family, friends, fellow workers, mentors, and lovers. What emerges is the study of a man caught in conflicts between family loyalties and his own passionate nature, between the call to political action and devotion to his art, between his support of the native Algerians and his identification with the forgotten poor whites. Exploring Camus's impoverished childhood in the Algerian city of Belcourt, his underground activities during the Occupation in Paris, the intrigues of the French literati who embraced him after the publication of his first novel, L'Etranger, Todd uncovers the solitary private man behind the mask of his celebrity. He shows us a writer isolated by his own success, crippled by the charms of women he could not resist, debilitated by the tuberculosis that did not kill him. The auto accident that did adds only to the ironies in the life of this international giant of twentieth-century literature.</Div>
attitude.” Camus also reported on his meeting with de Gaulle to Charles Poncet. Camus had found the general pessimistic and a partisan of a federal solution for Algeria. De Gaulle would only agree to return to power by legal means, but what he called “this fucking party system” would never elect him. Camus told Poncet, “You see, there’s no hope from that side.” For the first time, there was tension between the two men, because Poncet believed that it was necessary to negotiate with the FLN.
lost another opportunity to live in France when the writer Gabriel Audisio, who worked at the Algiers Tourist Office in Paris, was not able to find him a job there. But as Noces made clear, Camus did not miss Paris: “What is lovable about Algiers is what everyone experiences, the sight of the sea from every street-corner, a certain heaviness of sunlight.…” He gathered sweethearts, disagreeing with André Gide’s manner of hypocritically “asking us to suppress our desire in order to make it more
letter to Christane Galindo, was strictly true. Francine stayed in Oran, but promised to join Albert in Paris at the end of the academic year. Before he left, Albert solemnly promised to marry Francine, which Fernande and Christiane had imposed as the necessary requirement for his intimacy with the girl. Camus left Algeria on March 14, 1940. Three days later he wrote to Yvonne Ducailar to complain about the “exhausting” boat trip to Paris, during which he ate little, drank almost nothing, and
Camus hesitated to take the eleven-hour train ride from Oran to Algiers: “Usually, you are more fearless.” He impatiently awaited the promised three manuscripts and told Camus not to forget to send them with return receipt requested. He would be delighted to reread Caligula and to see L’Etranger at last. Pia was confident about the work’s quality, for he proposed publishing it in serial form, starting with the first issue of Prométhée. François Mauriac and Paul Valéry had agreed to contribute to
accompany him, but Leiris preferred to stay at the Musée de l’Homme with some friends. On his way to the rue Réaumur offices of Combat, Camus passed by the Comédie-Française to see Sartre. He found the philosopher sleeping in an orchestra seat, tired out after walking through Paris. Camus woke him up, laughing, “Your armchair is facing in the direction of history!” After August 21, the Resistance newspapers were hawked freely in the streets, and in some headlines the question was asked if the