Friday, January 29, 2010

Albert Camus: Champion of the Absurd

A maverick freethinker and literary sensation called Albert Camus was born in 1914 in Algeria, then that was despite being under the control of France was apart on many counts which later also shaped his fortune in intellectual circle of France. It was a big misfortune that this genius was died on midway on January 4th 1960, merely at the age of forty-six in a road accident albeit till than he had already reached the ladder of Nobel Prize for literary contribution.
An honest historical inquiry finds Camus on the right side of so many of the great moral issues of the twentieth century; essentially he was a freethinker that enabled him even to sort out the shortcomings of his radical communist ideology-Albert Camus could be the finest example of consineful reality, at the one side where he joined French resistance to combat Nazism, editing an underground newspaper {Combat} during the peak of second world war but the other side his refusal to join the anti-colonial rebellion in 1950’s for independence of Algeria was considered an act of treason by the French left.

Although he was too much concerned with the plights of Algeria but he was in favor of federal solution instead of complete independence-he kept asserting that “I believe in justice, but I will defend my mother before justice” amidst of heavy resistance from the camp of existentialist Jean Paul Sartre and others. The decade of 1960’s was an era of unrest throughout the world whose command was than being channelized from the intellectually fertile land of France under the deep influences of left political wings.
They had explicit leaning towards the rule of U.S.S.R, despite in such wave, Albert Camus remained untouched through the contemporary popular buzzwords-even being once Communist, his daring anti-totalitarian work “L’Homme Revolte’” {The Rebel, 1951} was remarkably vocal about the dark sides of Stalinism led to his permanent decamping with Sartre and other contemporary radicals in France who then were still standing with the Soviet Union and relentlessly refusing to condemn their acts.

Consequently he felt unbearable alienation in Paris caused by the delinking from radical circle and came under the explicit denouncement for deviating from communist ideological fervor's-communist camp had raised a stout question mark over his responsibility bearing with the plights of proletariat's, once friend turned a critique Jean Paul Sartre’s remarks”You may have been poor once, but you aren’t any more” revealed his growing unpopularity in the decades of fifties and sixties.
Interestingly, because of shift in ideological structure, today his admirers are considerably large in proportion to those of Sartre and Simon de Beauvior-even French President Nicholas Sarakozy has recently proposed transferring the writers remains from Provenance to the Pantheon in Paris.

Albert Camus at best could be memorized as a man of consignful insights rather than a typical institutional fellow; his adherence to political line ends where the freethinking upon absurd reality came under the skewed scanner. Infact, his approaches developed amidst the shabby material upbringing-he lost his father even before attainment of his first birthday; they were early settler in French Algeria, in the battle of the Mare.
His modest upbringing along with his deprived and illiterate mother {Catharine}, a brother and extended family in shaky discomfort drawn first him the sensibility of deprivation-his apartment was even without lavatory and running water; so, idea of absurdity emerged in him through his personnel discontents.

The only rich legacy for Albert Camus was his mothers strong integrity that marked superbly this worthy son- later for a academic progression, Camus moved to the French lyci’e and then to university in Algiers where he received great patronage from two inspiring teachers with whom he kept in touch throughout his life and he dedicated his Nobel Prize to one of them. Camus began writing as a reporter and dramatist and flourished ultimately to a world class novelist and political commentator-his magnum opus “L ‘Etranger” {The Stranger} had introduced readers the world over to the philosophy of absurd. He had deep sense of human sufferings and dilemmas of modern time-his solitude, self-doubt, restlessness of impermanence and displacement, persuade him moving on creatively between the sun-drenched Mediteterranian and cramped grey, Paris.
In his lifetime, he suffered numerous setbacks including of severe tuberculosis-all these oddities pushed him for quest of solace among his numerous affairs; indeed it’s justifiable for him calling himself “little poor boy”. After fifty years of death, work of Camus needs a revisiting by the literary critiques and enthusiasts which could attribute some genuine makeover to his credit. My own taste could be an avid example- I am passionate for the work of both Albert Camus and opposite camps-Jean Paul Sartre…as both provides distinct but essential world views.
Atul Kumar Thakur
January25th 2010, New Delhi


  1. Albert Camus deserves to be revisit and your commerative piece is a true initiation in this regard.Hope to see rational attitude from literary circle for his extraordinary creative works-only they have to throw the shackles of ideology for a while.

  2. Nice to read ,
    though I have no idea about your blog,