Albert Camus was born in November 1913 on an Algerian farm, son of a foreman who died in 1914 and of an illiterate mother of Spanish origin, Camus was raised among the Arab and European working classes.

In 1942 he published The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus; in 1951 he published The Rebel; in 1957 he published his last book, a short-story collection, titled The Exile and the Kingdom.

A pal of Jean-Paul Sartre, it was reported that from early on the youthful Camus wanted to be a journalist, bed lots of women and to make a mark in literature.

Camus's private life was burdened by overwork, ill health and the penchant to juggle several women at once, including the actress Maria Casares and Francine his wife and the mother of their twins.

With the arrival of the 1950s, reportedly a rift developed between Camus and Sartre that set literary Paris all abuzz, found Camus denounced as a conformist, and left him largely isolated in the intellectual community. The isolation was exacerbated by the Algerian War and played on Camus's long-standing sympathy for the Arabs and concern for his own kin.

Camus was killed in an automobile accident in January 1960, at the age of 46, shortly after winning the Nobel Prize in literature.


Source: The Wall Street Journal Bookshelf, December 12, 1997 pg. A16