The Life Work, and Creativity of Albert Camus:: 3 Works Cited
Length: 5717 words (16.3 double-spaced pages)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Yes, I have a country -- the French language." -Albert Camus
Albert Camus was a man consumed by three images--his mother, the Mediterranean, and death. His greatest creative achievement, his writing, would center around these images, images that would be transformed into great ideas through simple and refined words. Albert Camus lived the life of the creative genius according to Howard Gardner's model of creativity. His writing has left a lasting impression on the literary world and his life has left a fascinating legacy on the notion of creativity.
Albert Camus was born on November 1, 1913 in Mondovi, a village in the Algerian interior. His ancestors on his father's side arrived after the 1830 conquest of Algeria from France and his mother's side came from Spain. A certain amount of pride accompanied Camus' mixed racial descent. Yet, it was only in Algeria that Camus would ever truly belong. Mondovi was surrounded by vineyards and it was there that Camus' father, Lucien Auguste Camus, found employment. He worked on a grape farm helping in the manufacture of wine. Camus never had the chance to know his father, for he died before Camus had even reached the age of one. He was called off to war where he was fatally wounded at the Marne. Camus thus loathed bloodshed and was constantly haunted by the idea that his generation was cursed by wars. Because his mother, Catherine, spoke so little of his father, Camus knew virtually nothing of the man that he had been. The one detail that his mother did recount of his father was that he had once attended an execution, He watched the death of a mass murderer and yet afterwards he "threw himself on the bed and began to vomit" (McCarthy, 11). Camus never forgot this image and would later write against and about the death penalty.
Catherine, Albert, and his older brother Lucien moved in with her family after the death of Lucien Auguste to the Algiers suburb of Belcourt in the working-class area, crowded with apartment buildings and factories. An emotional poverty reined over Albert's life in Belcourt. His grandmother, the talkative, strong-minded queen of the household, became his principle care-taker. Though Camus admired his grandmother's pride, he found her to be harsh and selfish, and he feared her. She was greatly critical of her daughter for having married a man who had died so young, leaving her alone with two children.
Catherine never found the courage to stand up to her, not even when her mother would beat Albert and Lucien. Their mother worked long hours and was exhausted in the evenings, the only time she had to spend with her two sons. Yet, Catherine rarely spoke and responded little, if at all, to her sons emotional needs. Her illiteracy only served to further the distance between Albert and herself, for reading and writing was to become the essence of Albert's life. She never was able to appreciate Albert's success. When Albert, later in his life, told her of the invitation he had received from the French president to come to the ElysŽe palace, she replied, "That's too much, you've already risen far too high" (McCarthy, 15). His mother's indifference would leave a profound impression on how he viewed the world and, in turn, on the themes of his writing.
Although Camus would later look back with pride on his working-class family and the virtues that he saw in their lives, it can not be denied that he suffered from a loneliness that came from his poverty, his father's death, and his mother's backwardness. Yet, as a child he did find ways of escaping his family life. Camus was an excellent student and he came to like school very early on. It was at elementary school that he came to meet Louis Germain, his very dedicated teacher whom he would later thank in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Germain noticed many distinct traits that the young Camus displayed. He was an extremely hard worker who "worked diligently all day long... without ever being told to" (McCarthy,15). Camus had ambition which he began to show as he became especially good in French and mathematics, the two key subjects for the exams. Germain spoke also of Camus' ability to concentrate and to work quickly, traits that his university friends would also see in him. Camus was also extremely private. He spoke little, he thought much and was quite reserved and serious. Germain was something of a "father-substitute" (McCarthy, 16) to Camus. He was very kind to and supportive of Camus. When Camus's mother informed Germain that she would not be able to afford Camus's attendance of grammar school, Germain got a scholarship for him. Germain and the education system gave Camus a chance and, for that, he never let either down. His ambition and his industriousness continued to grow.
As Camus grew older he discovered other releases from the isolation of his family life. He became closer to an Uncle, the wife of his mother's sister, M. Acault. M. Acault had an exuberant personality which "counterbalanced the silence of [Albert's] home" (McCarthy, 17). As a butcher, he held long discussions with his customers about literature and politics. He was self-taught, widely read, and he especially liked Gide who would later influence the young Camus. Albert could joke with his uncle, something that he never had done with his mother. The reserved, silent Camus was becoming a rather outgoing boy. It was at this time also that Camus discovered his first taste of male friendship, for at the age of fifteen he joined the soccer team, the RUA - Racing Universitaire d'Alger. There was a strong sense of fraternity, of common purpose, of team spirit that Camus enjoyed. He was rather small and so was assigned to the position of goalie but it was the thrill of running and drilling the ball that most pleased him. He found that same sort of physical thrill in swimming, which became an even more frequent pastime. But swimming meant more to him than simply the physical pleasure that it brought to him. The physical pleasure for him became a liberation from his family and an immersion in nature. He swam along the beaches of Algiers in the Mediterranean Sea where he tried to keep his strokes in time with the ocean so that he felt as a part of the water. He never lost his love for either soccer or swimming. We see this in one of his most important novels, La Peste where both are essentially discussed respectively as providing moments of harmony or moments of relief. And again, in L'Etranger in which he emphasizes the realities of sensual pleasure.
A Confrontation With Death
Camus was struck with tuberculosis in 1930, at the age of seventeen. The illness was so severe that he had to repeat a year of school. The treatment, pumping air into the lungs, was painful. Camus refused to acknowledge his disease and he continued to walk and to cycle, though both took great and painful efforts. His pride and his sense of privacy rarely allowed him to discuss the fears that this recurring disease aroused in him. Throughout his life, Camus would be struck with TB off and on and he would constantly be returning with joy to life after a recovery and back to gloom at the onset of a new outbreak. Camus' constant confrontations with death furthered the sense of stoicism and indifference that his mother's silence had left upon him. He would come to express in his writing physical mortality and, more importantly, the idea that the universe is absurd, that is, that there exists a conflict between man's desire for meaning and the essential shapelessness of his condition.
It was another teacher, Jean Grenier, who perceived of Camus' indifference and was able to see beyond it, to detect his sense of privacy and pride. He visited Camus during his sickness and though Camus was rather rude to him, he was also very delighted by Grenier's visit. It was an act of friendship that came to Camus in his poverty, his illness, and his contemplation of death. Grenier was certainly one of the most influential people in Camus' life. Their relationship was characterized by a mutual influence but also by a sort of unspoken competitiveness. Grenier was a remarkable teacher in that he looked upon his most clever students as disciples, observing their responses to him very carefully. His cleverest student of all was Camus and the two of them would hold long discussions which enabled Camus to explore his ideas about philosophy and writing. Grenier was a Breton, an outsider to Algiers, and so he saw the Mediterranean as an outsider. He could reveal to Camus what he already knew instinctively but had not yet articulated. Grenier was a writer whose work reflects Gide's combination of rage and skepticism. Camus too came to greatly admire the work of Gide, especially his ability to weigh moral values in his works, for Camus would come to be perceived as a moralist, a moralist in an age of war and nihilism. More importantly Grenier imparted to Camus his sense of death and the notion he referred to in his own writing of man as an 'amputated being'. There is no escape from mortality, even in the teeming streets of Algiers and along the beauty of the Mediterranean landscape. Man is amputated from the world because, essentially, he is alone with himself. These ideas of amputation, mortality, and finally the idea of man's desire to overcome his destiny through some sort of oneness, all of which he would use in his great works, spoke to the Camus who had been separated by the silence of his mother and by his illness.
Yet the relationship which existed between Camus and Grenier must not be misunderstood. Camus certainly acknowledged the influence which Grenier had upon him, calling him "my master" (McCarthy, 32). At the same time however Camus's praise of him might be looked upon as a sort of strategy in that Grenier was mortified by such praise which he saw as robbing him of his own originality and diminishing him simply to an extension of Camus. Grenier defended himself by saying that he had in fact done little for Camus and that his own originality lie outside of Camus and Camus's work. He was saying that the importance of his own books, such as Les Iles and Inspirations MŽditerranŽennes went beyond merely the influence that they had upon Camus.
Jean Grenier not only had an influence on Camus but also on Camus's first group of friends. It was a group of boys who were exploring the same kinds of questions that Camus was, questions involving politics, writing, and painting. Private as Camus was, he could also be very gregarious and would be a man of groups throughout his life. Camus had a distinct presence in the group. "His attentive silences were imposing and, when he spoke, everyone listened" (McCarthy, 27). A few considered him to be a rather arrogant young man while they all knew him to be a self-assured young man, especially in his beliefs. When the group discussed writing, they often referred to the works in the innovative yet traditional NRF, the Nouvelle Revue Franaise. The writer that they preferred in the NRF was Malraux who explained man in metaphysical rather than psychological terms. And because the group was made up of left-wing supporters, they also admired the anti-fascism in his writing.
One of the group members was a particularly important friend of Camus. Claude de FrŽminville was a writer who Camus believed possessed an enormous creative talent. They spent hours walking through the streets of Oran (an area of Algiers) discussing novel upon novel. Camus doubted his own ability to create and considered 'FrŽmin' to be the most talented of his friends because of his inexhaustible energy. FrŽmin persuaded Camus to turn to the Parti Communiste to remedy the poverty among the Arabs that they both so despised. Besides the intellectual endeavors that they pursued together, it was solely to FrŽmin that the young Camus conceded his deepest fears and his vulnerability. Camus felt abandoned, was obsessed with loneliness, and could not shake his fear of death, all feelings stemming from his early struggles and his ongoing struggle with TB. The distance that Camus tried to maintain with others broke down with FrŽmin. His pride vanished and his vulnerability broke through.
Love and Sorrow
Albert Camus fell deeply in love twice in his lifetime. Once with his first wife, Simone HiŽ, and once with a lover, Maria Casars, he had during his second marriage. Camus entered the UniversitŽ d'Algiers in 1930 where he still remained friends with the crowd he had found in secondary school. When Camus met Simone, she was the girlfriend of his friend Fouchet. The entire group was enchanted by this striking woman who found so much pleasure in shocking others. She dressed in black, wore white make-up in a land filled with sun tanned people, sang obscene songs on the street, and discussed intelligently writing and philosophy at the age of sixteen. Simone's eccentricity stemmed from a rather tragic background. Her father abandoned her and her mother when she was a little girl. Yet perhaps the greater tragedy began at the age of fourteen. Because her first periods were so painful, her mother gave her morphine in order to ease them. Simone became addicted and began to forge her mother's signature on prescriptions. And even when her mother began to realize what was happening, being conscience-stricken and indulgent, she continued to purchase the medicine for her.
Drugs gave Simone that edge of dangerous fascination that so attracted Fouchet and Camus and so many others. In 1933 Camus began to see her secretly apart from the group and the two began to fall in love. Camus' revelation of this to Fouchet marked the end of their friendship. Simone and Camus tried to help each other. Camus wanted to help her break her drug-addiction and Simone wanted to help relieve Camus' loneliness. Their marriage, however, lasted only two short years. Though Simone entered a drug clinic, it was to little avail, for she was continuing to take drugs, paying her doctor for them through sex.
Camus loved Simone and their break-up in 1936 changed him. Though his friends supported him as best they could, he felt more alone than ever. His outlook on relationships became rather cynical upon the realization that neither strength of character nor love could conquer Simone's dependency on drugs. As he put it, "It's a pity fairy-tales cannot consist solely of beginnings." As a sort of revenge for Simone and a demonstration that he did indeed have power over women, Camus became something of a womanizer. De FrŽminville watched Camus as the two sat talking in cafes as he 'sized up the girls and stared at them with a strained, contemptuous smile' (McCarthy, 80). His good looks and charm encountered little resistance. Though Camus would marry again, his break-up with Simone marked the beginning of multiple sexual encounters and a certain mistrust of the opposite sex.
Origins of his Writing
'At the time when I discovered Les Iles (Jean Grenier's book of essays) I think that I wanted to write. But I did not really decide to do so until after I had read these essays.' Albert Camus
In 1932 Albert Camus began to write. He wrote four pieces for the magazine Sud which was run by a group of his classmates. Grenier had persuaded the magazine to publish a few of the essays written by his philosophy students in the magazine. Camus wrote four short pieces which were filled with rhetoric and which revealed his schoolboy immaturity. He discussed in them whether or not art might offer a superior dream which could override reality. The particular influence of Grenier's book on Camus was not simply due to the ideas in themselves which were discussed but it also had to do with how Camus was personally able to relate to those ideas. Grenier forced Camus to think more closely about his experience, about man's experience. "...I owe Grenier not certainty which he neither wanted nor was able to give. On the contrary, I owe him a doubt that will never end, and which has prevented me, for example, from being a humanist in the sense which the world has today, that is to say a man blinded by narrow certainties." Grenier recognized the beauty and the splendor of the human body but he also knew that the body would perish so that it is up to us to love it, to value it with urgency and immediacy.
On a personal level, Grenier's ideas touched Camus' experience with tuberculosis. When he was told at the age of seventeen that he would die, one can only imagine the profound emotional shock that Camus must have felt. It was an experience which taught him that the pleasures of the body were fleeting and that man must look for a more enduring basis to life. Grenier's book made sense to Camus. For the first time Camus realized the possibility that writing might have in expressing his own ideas so clearly. His writing would not simply allude to his own personal experience but it would also express the ideas that such experience had created.
Camus explored nearly all forms of writing--the novel, the short story, the play, and the essay. Between 1932, when he first began to write, and 1942, when L'Etranger was published, he was experimenting with all genres and different styles. He was especially interested in theater and founded two theater groups, Le ThŽ‰tre du Travail in 1936 and Le ThŽ‰tre de L'Equipe in 1937, upon the demise of the Travail. Camus' love of groups, his reading of Copeau's works, and his idea that most interaction is unreal. The Equipe was composed of a supportive group of people, dedicated to forming an intense relationship between the audience and the troupe. Camus, himself, as director, was fascinated with the idea of man becoming character, especially the moment when the role is not completely learned, thus leaving the actor in limbo, as neither man nor character. Camus' group performed the plays of other author's, along with plays written by Camus. Camus' most important play was Caligula in that it was, of all the works of Camus's "absurd" period, the one that most successfully poses the problem to be pondered. The question that Caligula the emperor must answer is how man can remain absolutely free without jeopardizing the sacredness of the life of others. Yet, while Camus's interest in and, to an extent, his success in theater were significant, his greatest success would be found in the novel and the essay.
French Algeria and Political Involvement
In order to truly understand the man behind, the theories and the writings of Camus, one must first understand historically and politically the time and the place in which Camus grew up and lived out his manhood. The Algeria of Camus's time was pervaded by a certain ambiguity that stemmed from the colonization of Algeria. There was, among the French Algerians, a certain pioneer mentality. They saw themselves as the people who had brought civilization and prosperity to their country. There was no Algeria, as they saw it, until their arrival. It was the French, in a land faced with economic distress, who prospered and who saw themselves as greatly superior to the others. The constant tension that existed between the Arabs and the French was always resolved in favor of the French, particularly in terms of employment and agricultural issues, putting the Arabs in threat of famine and unemployment.
Algeria had a very fragile sense of identity with its mixed races (Spanish, Italian, French) and the Arabs. Anti-Semitism was strong, perhaps to enhance some sense of sense of identity with a common purpose. There was the constant Arab question that pervaded Camus's time. Would assimilation be possible, would independence ever be realized? The Arab was made to feel that his past was shameful, that the only hope for redemption was to become a good Frenchman, learn the French language well and work hard. Yet even such assimilation did not get Arabs ahead. As for independence, Camus would later say that neither he nor any of his friends believed that Algerian independence was a possibility. At the same time though there was a constant threat of Arab revolt, though it would change little. It was not necessarily in French interest to help Algeria solve its problems, for if they kept them under-industrialized and at a lower economic standing, Algeria would not be able to compete with France. One could say that Algeria was a primitive society. There was little educational opportunity of any quality and there was an enormous amount of violence and fighting, a part of the frontier mentality. Physical pleasure was everything to the Arabs, perhaps because there was so little else for them. The ambiguity of the Arabs' place in their own land confirmed Camus's vision of man as an amputated being, living in a beautiful world not made for man.
In May 1936, France elected for the first time a socialist prime minister, LŽon Blum, returning to power the Popular Front. Blum wanted to give the vote to a larger number of Arabs and at once French Algeria edged toward revolt. The Popular Front realized that it needed a voice and that voice came through their own newspaper, Alger-RŽpublicain. Though the paper (along with the papers of other political interest) had a rather small circulation, its influence was felt widely. The paper's aim was not to speak for one particular party, but rather to unite and to stress the Arab question and to work for political equality for them.
Camus began to work for the paper in 1937, the same year that he left the Communist party after three years of involvement due to its change on the Arab question. Camus's political interest began when he was an adolescent, discussing the Arab problem with his circle of friends. He was, from the start, a member of the Left-wing. Writing for the Alger-RŽpublicain was an opportunity for Camus to write, to earn an income, and to be a part of a medium which allowed him to voice his political ideas. Camus's contributions to the paper consisted mostly of literary criticisms and protests against social injustices, especially the discrimination against Arabs. One article of particular importance dealt with the famine in Kabylia, the high country south of Algiers. Though he recognized that the famine was a natural catastrophe, he also believed that it was made worse by the injustice and the inefficiency of the French administration. Though Camus never suggested that the solution to the Arab problem lie in an independent Algeria, his views made him, nevertheless, very unpopular with the French authorities. In fact, he became so unpopular with them that they blacklisted him from any kind of work in Algeria. The paper came to be highly censored at the outbreak of World War II due to official disapproval of the paper's position on North African problems. In 1939 the paper closed down.
During the war, Camus was forced to go to Paris, where the editor of Alger-RŽpublicain, Piscal Pia found him a job working for the paper Paris Soir. Before leaving he met Francine Faure, his second wife. He had twin children with her in 1945, Catherine and Jean. He never enjoyed domestic life and in 1953 his wife had a nervous breakdown. "Not all his good looks and charm of manner prevented Camus from following the pattern whereby great creative writers tend to make their nearest and dearest rather unhappy" (Thody, 12). Though the two seemed to be fairly well matched at first, he never loved Francine the way that he had Simone. He carried on a passionate love affair with Maria Casars while separated from his wife in France. Along with Simone and De FrŽminville, Camus was able to reveal his vulnerability to Casars and he fell very much in love with her.
In 1942 the publication of L'Etranger made Camus widely known in literary circles but it was not until 1944 after the liberation of Paris that he became a national figure. He worked on the French resistance newspaper Combat in 1944 and 1945, with Piscal Pia as its editor. The slogan of the paper 'De la resistance ˆ la rŽvolution' represented a widely held view that the fight against Germany must lead to a socialist revolution and to the destruction of the right which had collaborated with the Germans. Along with supporting this idea, Camus used Combat in order to make the French public aware of the political and economic crisis which Algeria was suffering. It was at this time that Camus met Sartre, a man with whom he was often publicly linked. They shared a brief friendship that would later end in politico-philosophical dispute, Camus rejecting existentialism, Sartre rejecting Camus's political views.
The Theory of the Absurd
In 1942 L'Etranger was published. It was one of three novels that Camus wrote. Its immediate success was an indication of how completely its ideas fit the mood of the time, a French society under the Occupation and a world at war. The main character in L'Etranger, Meursault, believes that life is pointless, he denounces hope, and he refuses to believe in any sort of transcendence. His life is occupied by a physical pleasure that takes precedence over everything else, for because there is nothing else, man must occupy himself with the sensation of being alive. Swimming in the Mediterranean, the hot Algerian sun, the sounds of evening, these are the reasons to continue living. His apparent indifference to such things as his mother's death, his lover's marriage proposal, his death sentence are significations of his recognition of the absurdity of the world and our existence.
In an age in which rationalism has been shown to be an inadequate explanation of the world, the theory of the absurd has been widely shared. The absurd results from the conflict between our awareness of death and our desire of life, from the opposition between our search for explanation and the mystery of all existence. Man is aware of the inevitability of death, and thus sees no meaning in life. Yet, Camus never supported suicide, for though life has no meaning, the aim of experiencing as many physical sensations as one can makes life worth living.
Approximately ten years later after having published L'Etranger, Camus published his most important essay, an essay which marked a turning point in his career, L'Homme rŽvoltŽ (The Rebel). It involved a strong critique of Soviet Communism which fueled the dispute which ended the friendship between Camus and Sartre for Sartre was a strong supporter of Soviet Communism. L'Homme rŽvoltŽ involved a transition from the "absurd man" to the man in revolt. He still believes in the absurdity of the world but he has changed the outlet that one must take--an individual, personalized revolt. Man seeks to transform himself rather than simply remaining what he is. In this essay, Camus examines several kinds of rebellion--metaphysical and historical for example. The question "What is a rebel?" is answered by "It is a man who says no". Not only did L'Homme rŽvoltŽ change from the idea of escape through physical sensation and the absurd man but it also marked an evolution in Camus's intellect. He was moving away from leftist militancy to a commitment to pure humanism. His first cycle of writing, then, focused on inhumanity itself while his second focused on the assertion of man's freedom against inhumanity.
In 1956, Camus published La Chute (The Fall), which was seen by some as a creative revival. Between 1951 and 1956, Camus published no major work. He committed his time rather to translation, clarifying the objectives of his past works, and adapting and producing plays. In La Chute, Camus utilized the monologue in order to express the universal egotism of all men. Perhaps its greatest creativity lie in its technique. La Chute is an exercise in narrative technique and objective denunciation of the sins of our time. Camus was greatly interested in the expression of an idea through a given form. It is in his innovation of form in La Chute where his creativity lie. As Camus defined the truly creative writer, he is who "doubtless always says the same thing, but unceasingly renews the form in which he says it".
In 1957 Camus received the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his important literary works which shed light on the problems today facing the human conscience" (Amoia, 16). Yet, rather than experiencing happiness upon receiving this honor, Camus felt rather dispirited. Besides Rudyard Kipling, he was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Prize. He was 44 at the time and so felt great pressure to live up to the expectations that such a prize entailed. He wondered whether he would ever be able to write another book again. He also experienced two forms of external criticism. Many people, including Camus, felt that the decision to give the prize to Camus was a poor one and that it should have gone to AndrŽ Malraux. In addition to this literary criticism, he was struck with a great deal of political criticism. Camus withdrew from his political career during the Algerian War and maintained a stubborn silence in regard to the tortures and atrocities that accompanied it. When he was told that he must take sides, he answered "Ah, but I haven taken it. I have chosen my own country, the Algeria of the future where French and Arabs will associate freely together" (Thody, 214). Yet, good intentions alone were no longer of any use. Camus later claimed that he was afraid for his mother's life. But nothing alleviated the criticism and the attacks that he suffered from his refusal to become involved.
Camus died in 1960, not from tuberculosis which had struck him again severely at the end of his life, but in a car accident on his way from the south of France to Paris. He was only 47 at the time. Yet in his short life, Camus made exceptional contributions to his field. He developed themes which became peculiarly his own--separation, loneliness, the need for man to find his home, compassion and rebellion, joy in the physical life, and the fleetingness of the world. Camus's writings offered a radical departure from traditional subject matter and traditional form in its simplicity, clarity and expression of subject through form.
Camus's "Fit" into Gardner's Model of Creativity
The life of Albert Camus corresponds very well with Howard Gardner's model of the creative person. Camus certainly and most clearly possessed the verbal intelligence through his ability to write in all genres. Yet, at the same time, he also possessed the intra-personal and inter-personal intelligences. In order to write, Camus had to be well in touch with who he was. He drew on his own experiences, his tuberculosis, his fear of death, his childhood of loneliness, in order to write. Camus, though, was far from being a recluse. He also had great inter-personal skills. He was a leader of ThŽ‰tre de L'Equipe and Alger-RŽpublicain, and his opinions in politics were greatly influential on many. He was a group man from the time he was a young boy playing soccer. His presence was such that when he spoke, others listened. Camus was not especially adept at the spatial, musical, kinesthetic, and logical intelligences but his ability in the three others well made up for his any other lack.
Camus's productivity as far as innovation is concerned generally did fall into the ten year rule. In 1932 he began writing, in 1942 he wrote L'Etranger, and in 1951 he wrote L'Homme rŽvoltŽ. La Chute, however, did not fit into this rule, having been written in 1956.
As far as Camus's domain is concerned, he contributed a great deal. Camus called into question man's destiny and his historical progress through a moral analysis of the hypocrisies, devices, and avoidances of civilized society. He established themes and forms which were uniquely his. Camus voiced the feelings of a generation, a generation that had faced war and injustice in offering an alternative view of the world.
Camus had two men in his life who acted as mentors and helped to bring out the artist that he would become--Louis Germain and Jean Grenier. Without the help of these two men at a critical, formative point in his life, Camus might never have discovered his potential to become a great writer. Camus's "hero" was probably AndrŽ Gide, an author greatly admired during his time and whose writing Camus respected and admired.
Camus was constantly surrounded by support systems, whether he felt alone or not. At the start of his writing, Grenier encouraged him. Later on he was involved heavily with the groups from ThŽ‰tre de L'Equipe, Alger-RŽpublicain, and Combat. His friendships with De FrŽminville and Sartre encouraged his writing also. Although Camus did have many special and important friends and relationships, he certainly had a Faustian Bargain as far as his domestic life was concerned. He was completely unfaithful to his wife and, though he loved his children, he preferred his independence from domestic life.
Camus was a highly creative and ambitious individual who made substantial and lasting contributions to his field. His creative genius lie in his art which has left behind an enduring impression. As all creative genius does, his art spoke to the world in an insightful and innovative way. Perhaps Camus expressed best the significance of his art. "For me, art is not a solitary rejoicing. It is the means of touching the heart of the greatest number of men by offering them the privileged image of the suffering and joy which they have in common."
Amoia, Alba, Albert Camus, Continuum Publishing Company, New York, 1989
McCarthy, Patrick, Camus: A Critical Study of His Life and Work, Hamish Hamilton Ltd, London, 1982
Thody, Albert Camus 1913-1960, Macmillan Company, 1961