With a worldview formed amid the unfathomable human suffering of the early 20th century, Albert Camus’s writings reflect on the inherent absurdity of the human condition, including his best-known work, the novella The Stranger (1942). But the arc of his career, from his ‘cycle of the absurd’ and his ‘cycle of revolt’ to his ‘cycle of love’ – left unfinished after Camus himself met a rather meaningless end in a car accident – points towards a humane philosophy, centred on a defiant pursuit of freedom and value in a futile, incomprehensible universe. This animation from TED-Ed scopes Camus’s career, outlook and cultural influence, shedding light on how, where he might have found hopelessness, he instead found inspiration. For more on Camus’s life, including how his worldview clashed with those of his existentialist contemporaries, watch the Aeon original animation Sartre vs Camus.

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