What interests me now is whether my view of him has changed now that I am older and wiser. Well, definitely older -- not sure at all about that wiser part.
And I also believe that for me to get a more complete picture of France today, I must try to get a better understanding of the French history in North Africa.. His writings subtly deal with themes of colonialism and the problems that it leaves in its wake.
People like Camus were known by the term "pied-noir" -- black foot. This term referred to people who were colonists of French European ancestry who lived in Algeria before independence. It also refers to colonists who were repatriated in France after Algerian independence. The name "black foot" is believed to have come from the firemen, the coal stokers, on steamers who worked in bare feet colored black by coal. . They were most often Algerian natives.
Camus was born to a working-class family in Algeria in 1913. He worked at various jobs in North Africa to pay for the courses he was taking at the University of Algiers. He next turned to journalism, and he also ran a theater company that produced plays by Malraux and others. (He would later say that Malraux should have been the one who received the Nobel Prize). During WWII, Camus was a leading writer for an underground newspaper of the French Resistance.
The writings of Albert Camus include his fiction, The Stranger, The Plague, and the Fall, and his essays, The Myth of Sisyphus and The Rebel. He stresses themes of survival and resilience, together with the difficulty man faces when he must accept the "absurdity" of the universe -- themes that certainly resonate today.
I am going to reconnect with Monsieur Camus. I am not sure whether to start at the beginning with The Stranger or start with my dog-eared copy of The Plague that I kept from college. I wish I could read them in the original French, but I am pretty stretched in my attempts to read Harry Potter in French (see previous post on Learning French with Harry Potter).
My favorite quote by Albert Camus:
Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower.
If any readers have suggestions on how to reconnect with Albert Camus, please let me know.
Here is a link to find The Stranger The Stranger