This page features a collection of the best resources on Albert Camus. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on Camus. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about him.
To get started, simply choose one of the links below:
If you want an academic overview of Camus:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Albert Camus. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 11,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces Camus:
“Albert Camus (1913–1960) was a journalist, editor and editorialist, playwright and director, novelist and author of short stories, political essayist and activist—and, although he more than once denied it, a philosopher. He ignored or opposed systematic philosophy, had little faith in rationalism, asserted rather than argued many of his main ideas, presented others in metaphors, was preoccupied with immediate and personal experience, and brooded over such questions as the meaning of life in the face of death. Although he forcefully separated himself from existentialism, Camus posed one of the twentieth century’s best-known existentialist questions, which launches The Myth of Sisyphus: “There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide” (MS, 3). And his philosophy of the absurd has left us with a striking image of the human fate: Sisyphus endlessly pushing his rock up the mountain only to see it roll back down each time he gains the top. Camus’s philosophy found political expression in The Rebel, which along with his newspaper editorials, political essays, plays, and fiction earned him a reputation as a great moralist. It also embroiled him in conflict with his friend, Jean-Paul Sartre, provoking the major political-intellectual divide of the Cold-War era as Camus and Sartre became, respectively, the leading intellectual voices of the anti-Communist and pro-Communist left. Furthermore, in posing and answering urgent philosophical questions of the day, Camus articulated a critique of religion and of the Enlightenment and all its projects, including Marxism. In 1957 he won the Nobel Prize for literature. He died in a car accident in January, 1960, at the age of 46. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
- Read Sam Dresser’s article: How Camus and Sartre split up over the question of how to be free [1300 words]
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
- Watch the Academy of Ideas’ video: Introduction to Camus: The Absurd, Revolt, and Rebellion [11 mins]
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen to Edward Hughes discuss Albert Camus and the Absurd on The Philosopher’s Zone podcast [25 mins]
While these resources are a great starting point, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the best books on Albert Camus.
The Daily Idea was created to help make learning about philosophy as easy as possible by collecting the best philosophy articles, videos, podcasts, and book recommendations from across the internet and organizing them into one place. You can find a collection of links to these resources and recommendations here or try taking the 52 Book Philosophy Challenge.