The first time I read Camus was in an introduction to literary theory class. We read The Stranger and a couple of essays from The Myth of Sisyphus. This was back in the days when I took nothing so seriously as philosophy. I loved Camus.
Now that those days of furrowed brows and profound thinking are behind me, Camus remains one of the philosophers I still enjoy. Big ideas and absurdist philosophy aside, the man knew how to tell a good story as well.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth glance at the man, there are mountains, oceans, and avalanches of criticism and analysis out there to bury yourself in.
Today I just want to highlight his books and help anyone get started who isn’t sure where to jump in.
I’m going to provide a list of Camus novels, short story collections and non-fiction collections. I’ll swing back by occasionally to review them as well.
Novels by Albert Camus
A Happy Death
The First Man
Short Story Collections by Camus
Exile And The Kingdom
The Adulterous Woman
The Renegade Or A Confused Spirit
The Silent Men
Jonas Or The Artist at Work
The Growing Stone
Non-fiction books by Mr. C
Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism
Betwixt And Between
The Myth of Sisyphus
And he has three volumes entitled The Notebooks, spanning the years 1935-1959.
Unfortunately, Camus died in a car accident.
Most interesting to me is that he would not subscribe or identify with any particular ideology or belief system. When we were studying him, the word “existentialism” and “existentialist” were thrown around constantly.
According to my old girl Wikipedia, that was never a label he was comfortable with.
When I look at his body of writing, I am fascinated by the idea that it was written on behalf of no particular school of thought. He looked for meaning and rejected nihilism.
But anti-nihilist institutions like the various organized religions weren’t his thing. He wanted to find meaning and individual freedom without needing to join up with any particular cause.
Well, enough rambling there. Let’s focus on the books. For anyone getting started, I highly recommend The Stranger and The Plague. I’ve heard they’re both much better in French, but I wouldn’t know anything about that, mes amis.
I find many of his essays dense and challenging, but so far, all of them have been worthwhile to me.
I have yet to read any of the non-fiction collections.