Today would have been Albert Camus’ 100th birthday, so his picture keeps popping up in my Twitter and Facebook feeds. (Yes, it’s usually this photo of him smoking and looking as cool as any writer has ever looked.) So why not take this opportunity to revisit some of the most interesting things that have been written about Camus in English? Here’s my top five list:
The Ideal Husband, Susan Sontag on Camus’ Notebooks in 1963 — the piece where she calls Camus “the ideal husband of contemporary letters” only to add that he was not an important thinker.
Camus and His Critics by Norman Podhoretz, written in 1982.
Camus & Algeria: The Moral Question, Claire Messud’s review of Algerian Chronicles, recently published in English translation.
Why Is Albert Camus Still a Stranger in His Native Algeria? by Joshua Hammer, with great quotes from Alice Kaplan who has studied Camus and his contemporaries.
A piece by Ryan Bloom on why the first line of The Stranger is surprisingly difficult to translate.
What’s more, The Internet Archive has quite a few of his books for free, both in French and in translation. And a quick search on Ina.fr turns up a couple of clips featuring Camus, especially the speech he gave when he received the Nobel prize (audio only) and him speaking on why he loves theater. Because it makes him happy, he says.