From The Vault
May 24, 2023: Albert Camus: A Centenary Celebration
This stunning 1961 profile was produced by KPFA producer Richard Vernier the year after Camus’ untimely death in 1960. Vernier gathered the best experts available to help understand this amazing author, playwright, journalist and philosopher.
- Harding Lemay — Pulblicity Director of Camus’ American publisher Alfred A. Knopf
- Germaine Bree — French Literature Professor at New York University
- Jean Renoir — French Film maker
- Kenneth Rexroth — American poet
In addition to this amazing memorial program, we have a current interview with Raymond Gay-Crosier Professor Emeritus of French at The University of Florida who summarizes Camus’ impact on his contemporaries and on the student movements of the 60’s and the Arab Spring of 2010.
The program ends with the reading of Albert Camus’ Nobel Prize acceptance address.
Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. His Father died the following year in World War II and he was raised by his mother in one of the poorest sections of Algiers. With a propensity for both academics and football, Camus excelled at both but was forced to quit football when he contracted tuberculosis at the age of 17 in 1930. He then turned his attention to writing, publishing his first collection of essays in 1936.
In this program we’ll hear celebrity readings of Camus’ material from fans such as Kenneth Rexroth, Jean Renoir and others. The span of Camus material runs from his plays including Caligula from 1938, his second collection of essays Nuptuals published in 1939 to many of his classic writings The Stranger, The Plague and The Fall.
There are excerpts from interviews with Albert Camus translated into English which give us a first hand glimpse of a creative force who was often mischaracterized as being part of the Sartre’s Existential Movement. In the end, Camus reveals his simple motivations of truth and freedom, in his case a freedom that can only be experienced growing up in abject poverty free from Middle Class and Upper Class constraints.