Elisabeth Maisondieu-Camus, granddaughter of french Albert Camusconsiders that his grandfather is still “a very current writer” because “in his work he was interested in the human being, a subject that is timeless”.
“The proof of the author’s topicality is that during the pandemic ‘La peste’ has been the best-selling book in many places, in Spain, in France, in Germany…”comments Maisondieu-Camus in an interview with EFE.
Camus’s granddaughter has presented in the Spanish city of Barcelona (northeast) the biography of the writer written by her mother, Catherine Camus, the writer’s daughter.
He believes that it is still “very current” because “Camus has always been timeless, in his books he is interested in the human being and in the life of the human being, and in today’s society there is a need and a concern to know what Camus said “.
The experience of reading “The Plague” in the last two years, with a global pandemic, is disturbing because it is “as if Albert Camus I would have anticipated what we have experienced many before” and adds: “I prefer to think that Camus continues to be a benchmark, not so much because of the pandemic, but because the current world is in need of moral and intellectual benchmarks.”
Albert Camus he died in 1960 in a car accident, aged 46, and left a considerable body of work, but his granddaughter imagines that if he hadn’t died so soon, “I’m sure I would have continued to write.”
“He spoke of three phases in the development of his work: that of the absurd, that of rebellion and the third, the phase of love, which he had begun with ‘The First Man'”.
In addition to the biography written by catherine camus, published in Spain by Editorial Platform, the daughter authorized the publication of the correspondence between the writer and his lover, the Spanish actress María Casares, five years ago. “Surprisingly, the publication of those letters seems to belong to that phase of love.”
The book also collects the Spanish roots of Albert Camus: “Sobriety, sensitivity, energy, nothingness, all of this we have inherited in the family of Spanish origins, and my mother, my brother and I like the Spanish language, sometimes more than French”, he admits Maisondieu-Camus.
She traveled to Spain for the first time when she was 13 years old, and her brother worked for a time in Barcelona at the Tusquets publishing house.
Grandma Catalina Cardona, who raised from small to Albert Camus, was born on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Menorca and emigrated in the mid-19th century to Algeria. “When the three of us went to Menorca for the first time, my mother felt that she was in contact with her origins there”.
When Spain entered the UN (1955), during the Franco dictatorship, “Camus He was one of the few intellectuals who protested, because he was always against any extreme -says the granddaughter-, whether it was fascism or communism, and although his attitude of combat against fascism was evident, in the case of (Francisco) Franco he lived as something personal because of its origin”.
By reading the biography, which includes numerous photographs and unpublished documents, Maisondieu-Camus has been able to “systematize the knowledge of the grandfather, about whom he knew scattered things through family comments”.
From an intellectual point of view, Camus’s granddaughter does not miss anything, but she does “not have had the experience of having had a grandfather, of having shared with him the stories and carnal experience of any grandson.”
Maisondieu-Camus believes that since the publication of “The First Man”, there is no more unpublished literary material. “Yes, there is a lot of unpublished correspondence, with contemporary personalities and other more personal family letters, which I don’t know how long it will remain unpublished,” she adds.
To someone who hasn’t read anything by Camus, Maisondieu-Camus would say to start with “the easiest”, “The Stranger” and “The Exile and the Kingdom”. (Joseph Olive)