Books: Intellectual Sensualist

LYRICAL AND CRITICAL ESSAYS by Albert Camus. 365 pages. Knopf. $6.95.

Albert Camus died eight years ago, at 46, in an auto crash—a pointless death that served to emphasize the pointless absurdities of life, which he so painfully tried to comprehend.

Camus was often misunderstood. He was labeled an existentialist, but in interviews he protested that his The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) was "directed against the so-called existentialist philosophers." He was criticized for contributing to the literature of despair, but his novels (The Stranger, The Plague, The Fall) as well as his essays and plays sought to surmount despair. He was called an...