Can the world exist without the soul or awareness? Scientists have assumed that it does. The modern age was built on a belief that it could. During twentieth-century wartime, many felt that the world was indeed barren of meaning. One of the most vivid sketches of such a feeling was made in words by Albert Camus, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Camus was killed in a car accident on January 4, 1960. His handwritten memoir of his childhood and youth in Algiers was found in the car wreckage. At the time of his death, he was still working on the manuscript. His wife Francine made the first typescript of the 144 unrevised pages. In 1994, thirty-four years after the accident, his daughter Catherine and her brother published the work as Le premier homme for Gallimard. In the editor’s note to the subsequent English translation by David Hapgood, Catherine Camus writes:

it is obvious that my father would never have published this manuscript as it is, first for the simple reason that he had not completed it, but also because he was a very reserved man and would no doubt have masked his own feelings far more in its final version. But … it seems to me that one can most clearly hear my father’s voice in this text because of its very rawness.