By the end of this lecture you should be able to: Understand literary productions that are referred to as theatre of the absurd. Understand the similarities and differences between existentialism and theatre of the absurd.
9.3 GENERAL COMMENTS 9.4 ALBERT CAMUS Albert Camus was born in Dréan (then known as Mondovi) in French Algeria to a Pied- Noir settler family. Pied-Noir was a term used to refer to European colonists of French Algeria until Algerian independence in 1962. His mother was of Spanish descent and was half-deaf. His father Lucien, a poor agricultural worker, died in the Battle of the Marne in 1914 during the First World War, while serving as a member of the Zouave infantry regiment. Camus and his mother lived in poor conditions during his childhood in the Belcourt section of Algiers. In 1923, the bright boy was accepted into the lycée and eventually he was admitted to the University of Algiers. Camus joined the French Communist Party in the spring of 1935. Although he leaned left, politically, his strong criticisms of Communist doctrine did not win him any friends in the Communist parties and eventually alienated Sartre. In 1949 his TB returned and Camus lived in seclusion for two years. In 1951 he published The Rebel , a philosophical analysis of rebellion and revolution which expressed his rejection of communism. Upsetting many of his colleagues and contemporaries in France, the book brought about the final split with Sartre. The dour reception depressed him and he began to translate plays. 76 Many writers have addressed the Absurd, each with his or her own interpretation of what the Absurd is and what comprises its importance. For example, Jean Paul Sartre recognizes the absurdity of individual experience, while Kierkegaard explains that the absurdity of certain religious truths prevent us from reaching God rationally. Camus regretted the continued reference to himself as a "philosopher of the absurd". He showed less interest in the Absurd shortly after publishing Le Mythe de Sisyphe ( The Myth of Sisyphus ). To distinguish his ideas, scholars sometimes refer to the Paradox of the Absurd, when referring to "Camus' Absurd".
He was rejected by the French army because of his TB. During the war Camus joined the French Resistance cell Combat, which published an underground newspaper of the same name. This group worked against the Nazis, and in it Camus assumed the nom de guerre Beauchard . Camus became the paper's editor in 1943 and was in Paris when the Allies liberated the city, where he reported on the last of the fighting. Soon after the event on 6 August 1945, he was one of the few French editors to publicly express opposition to the United States' dropping the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. He resigned from Combat in 1947 when it became a commercial paper. It was then that he became acquainted with Jean-Paul Sartre.
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