This spring marks the 70th anniversary of Camus’s one and only trip to the United States. From March to May 1946, he delivered lectures at universities, spoke of the French resistance to Nazi occupation, and acted as a critical observer of American society. Outside of intellectual and literary circles, the young author was scarcely known when he arrived. But he would be. During the course of his visit, his novel The Stranger was published in English for the first time. The New Yorker interviewed him, and the New York Herald Tribune proclaimed him the “boldest writer in France today.”
Fifty-six years after his tragic death in a car crash, Albert Camus remains a major intellectual figure in the world. His reflections on absurdism and revolt, his constant battle for life, freedom and justice against nihilism, terror and ideologies, continue to stimulate discussion and provoke debate. His writings not only inspire artists in music, theater, and cinema; they also help their readers to live. For these reasons, Camus: A Stranger in the City is neither a commemoration nor a retrospective; it is a celebration of a living body of work.