A century after the birth of literature's most enigmatic Outsider, Albert Camus aficionado Professor Andrew Hussey celebrates the controversial life and work of the globally feted French writer and philosopher, and searches out the private man behind the handsome Bogart lookalike public face.
Andrew Hussey interviews confidants and colleagues from Camus' Parisian days, as well as his daughter at the Provencal family home. He uncovers a web of contradictions.
From the dusty backstreets of Algiers to the smoky Existentialist cafes of the Left Bank in wartime Paris; from the Nobel ceremony in Stockholm to the twisted car wreckage near Sens, Camus' story grips and dazzles just as do the novels we remember him for today: The Outsider, The Plague and The Fall.
A man of principle intent on resisting the Nazis and liberating occupied Paris, yet unable to back the cause of Algerian independence and branded a reactionary; the life and soul of any party, prone to depression and craving solitude. A family man whose high profile affairs drove his wife to attempt suicide.
And that fatal car crash...That may have been no accident...Enter the KGB...
Incorporating rare archive of Camus reading from his novels and acclaimed writers musing on their startling narrative power, the programme also confronts the darker side of Camus' reputation.
Probing Algerian and European thinkers on the vilification of Camus as a colonialist, Hussey unearths a virtual smear campaign that kept literary rival Jean Paul Sartre's star in the ascendant and Camus' low on the horizon. But now it is Camus' works that have stood the test of time to thrill and inspire a new 21st century generation of readers, and his philosophy of tolerance and moderation that speaks to today's ever more troubled age.
Producer Karen Holden
First broadcast in November 2013.
Andrew Hussey celebrates the life and work of French writer and philosopher Albert Camus.
Followed in Drama on 3 by a new dramatisation of his most famous work: The Outsider.