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Algerian Chronicles

Algerian Chronicles

Albert Camus

Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

ISBN 9780674416758

Publication date: 11/24/2014

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More than fifty years after Algerian independence, Albert Camus’ Algerian Chronicles appears here in English for the first time. Published in France in 1958, the same year the Algerian War brought about the collapse of the Fourth French Republic, it is one of Camus’ most political works—an exploration of his commitments to Algeria. Dismissed or disdained at publication, today Algerian Chronicles, with its prescient analysis of the dead end of terrorism, enjoys a new life in Arthur Goldhammer’s elegant translation.

“Believe me when I tell you that Algeria is where I hurt at this moment,” Camus, who was the most visible symbol of France’s troubled relationship with Algeria, writes, “as others feel pain in their lungs.” Gathered here are Camus’ strongest statements on Algeria from the 1930s through the 1950s, revised and supplemented by the author for publication in book form.

In her introduction, Alice Kaplan illuminates the dilemma faced by Camus: he was committed to the defense of those who suffered colonial injustices, yet was unable to support Algerian national sovereignty apart from France. An appendix of lesser-known texts that did not appear in the French edition complements the picture of a moralist who posed questions about violence and counter-violence, national identity, terrorism, and justice that continue to illuminate our contemporary world.


  • Camus’s Algerian Chronicles, edited and introduced by Alice Kaplan and beautifully translated by Arthur Goldhammer, affords Camus the belated opportunity to make his own case to the Anglophone public. This book, in slightly different form, proved his final public word on the Algerian question when it was originally published in June 1958… To witness the progression of his responses is to recognize above all the remarkable consistency of Camus’s moral conviction, the dogged optimism of his outlook, and his unfailing ability, even in the complex turmoil of emotional involvement with the issue, to cleave to his own principles of justice… It was this moral lucidity that had provoked Camus’s disenchantment with communism and underpinned his ardent opposition to the death penalty, a stance that prompted him to speak out, at different times, to save the lives of Nazi collaborators and FLN terrorists alike… Camus’s honesty and consistency retain, in retrospect, a moral purity that few others could claim.

    —Claire Messud, New York Review of Books


  • Albert Camus (1913-1960), Algerian-French novelist, essayist, and playwright, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.
  • Alice Kaplan is John M. Musser Professor of French and chair of the Department of French at Yale University.

Book Details

  • 240 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press
  • Introduction by Alice Kaplan