Albert Camus (author of The Stranger) and Existentialism .

Essay by ladydarkravenHigh School, 11th gradeA, March 2003

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Albert Camus and Existentialism

"If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life

as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life."

--Albert Camus

Existentialism was a movement of the 19th and 20th centuries that primarily focused on individual existence, subjectivity, individual freedom, and choice. Most philosophers since ancient Greek times of Plato have held that the highest moral good is universal. This belief remained, for the most part, undisputed until nineteenth-century Danish philosopher, Soreen Kierkgaard, reacted against this tradition. He insisted that the individual's highest good is to find his or her own unique moral vocation. Although existentialism encompasses atheism and agnosticism, general existentialist thought has had a profound influence on 20th-century theology. It has addressed such issues as transcendence and the limits of human experience, as well as a personal sense of authenticity and commitment.

Moreover, Existentialism has been a vital movement in literature, particularly in the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Franz Kafka, and Albert Camus.

More specifically, Albert Camus wrote about existentialism in his novel, The Stranger. Camus was born and lived in Algeria most of his life, and later fought in World War II. During the war, Camus published his main works associated with existentialism, or rather his view that human life is rendered ultimately meaningless by the fact of death and that the individual cannot make rational sense of his experience. He later earned a worldwide reputation as a novelist and essayist, and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1957. Through his writings, Camus became the leading moral voice of his generation during the 1950s.