Albert Camus, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, always refused the existentialist label with which he is usually associated. For Camus, Algerian-born and of working-class background, the world was 'absurd', without ostensible purpose, leading nowhere but unto death, yet all the more invigorating and profound precisely because of this. The idea of an 'absurdist' universe forms the backbone of his major work. Long associated with Left-Bank intellectuals, Camus' real emotional centre was always his native Algeria and the poverty of his youth. This has become even clearer recently with the publication of his posthumous novel The First Man which has re-catapulted Camus back into the public eye after several decades of 'excommunication' by the Left for his humane but 'un-radical' views during the Algerian War. 'Introducing Camus' portrays a man who was not only in the tradition of the great French humanists, but an important Resistance fighter during World War II, and also a great sensualist who created a personal and literary myth out of sun, sea, sex, football and theatre - his response to the 'absurdity' of life.
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