Albert Camus, 1913-1960
Born a farm-laborer's son in Mondovi, Algeria, Albert Camus studied philosophy at Algiers and, interrupted by periods of ill-health, was an actor, schoolmaster, playwright and journalist there and in Paris. Active in the French resistance movement during Word\ld War II, Camus became co-editor with Jean Paul Sartre of the left-wing newspaper, Combat until 1948, after which he broke his ties with Sartre. His nihilistic novel of 1942, L'Étranger (The Stranger), was "the study of an absurd man in an absurd world." Camus then set himself the task of illuminating new values for twentieth century man confronted by the meaninglessness of existence. His other novels include: The Plague (1948), The Rebel (1954), The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (1955), The Fall (1957), Exile and the Kingdom (1958), Caligula and Three Other Plays (1958), The Possessed (1960) and Resistance, Rebellion, and Death (1961). Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. In 1961, he was killed in an automobile accident.
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From the moment that man submits God to moral judgment, he kills Him in his own heart. And then what is the basis of morality? God is denied in the name of justice, but can the idea of justice be understood without the idea of God? At this point are we not in the realm of absurdity? Absurdity is the concept that Nietzsche meets face to face. In order to be able to dismiss it, he pushes it to extremes: morality is the ultimate aspect of God, which must be destroyed before reconstruction can begin. Then God no longer exists and is no longer responsible for our existence; man must resolve to act, in order to exist.
[Source: Albert Camus, The Rebel: An Essay on Man and Revolt (New York: Vintage International, 1991), p. 62.]
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