Albert Camus was a notable French philosopher, author, and journalist. While most people may know him for his philosophical concepts of absurdism and existentialism and his contributions to literature like “The Stranger” and “The Plague”, here are some lesser-known facts about Camus:
Soccer Player: Before becoming a philosopher and author, Camus was a goalkeeper for the Racing Universitaire d’Alger. His football career was cut short by tuberculosis, but he often said that everything he knew about morality and human duties he learned from football.
Nobel Prize Controversy: When Camus won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957, he was the second youngest recipient of the prize, at the age of 44. He was also the first African-born writer to receive the honor. However, his winning was controversial, with many believing that he was too young and his body of work too small to deserve such recognition.
Actor and Playwright: Besides being a renowned novelist, Camus was also a playwright and a theatre director. Some of his plays include “Caligula,” “The Misunderstanding,” and “The Just Assassins”. He also acted in some productions and was the co-founder of Theatre du Travail, later renamed Theatre de l’Equipe.
Resistance Fighter: During World War II, Camus joined the French Resistance against the Nazi occupation and edited the Resistance newspaper “Combat”. The experiences during the war deeply influenced his writings.
He was not an existentialist: Despite being commonly categorized as an existentialist, Camus always rejected this label. His philosophy of the absurd was distinct and often critical of existentialist thoughts.
Pacifist and Activist: Throughout his life, Camus maintained strong beliefs about peace. He was an outspoken critic of capital punishment and also played a crucial role in arguing for peace during the Algerian War.
Untimely Death: Camus died at the young age of 46 in a car accident. Ironically, he was known to have a fear of cars and preferred walking or public transport. The car crash in which he died was a brutal end – he was found with an unused train ticket in his pocket.
Unfinished novel: At the time of his death, Camus was working on a novel called “The First Man”, a largely autobiographical work about his childhood in Algeria. The unfinished manuscript was found in the wreckage of the car accident that killed him. His daughter eventually published it in 1994.