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A Nobel Laureate’s moving letter to his Teacher

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A Nobel Laureate’s moving letter to his Teacher


Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than they who produxe them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well” William Author Ward.

Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) was a writer concerned with the human conscience, who used his gift of words to elevate the human spirit and fight against totalitarianism. His vision, although belonging to the school of absurdism, was one of solidarity and pacifism and his letter, thanking his teacher after his Nobel Prize was part of the moral engagement he preached his whole life.

In celebration of all teachers, we bring you his moving letter to the teacher who not only saw greatness in him, but also helped nurture it.

19 November 1957

Dear Monsieur Germain,

I let the commotion around me these days subside a bit before speaking to you from the bottom of my heart. I have just been given far too great an honour, one I neither sought nor solicited.

But when I heard the news, my first thought, after my mother, was of you. Without you, without the affectionate hand you extended to the small poor child that I was, without your teaching and example, none of all this would have happened.

I don’t make too much of this sort of honour. But at least it gives me the opportunity to tell you what you have been and still are for me and to assure you that your efforts, your work, and the generous heart you put into it still live in one of your little schoolboys who, despite the years, has never stopped being your grateful pupil. I embrace you with all my heart.

Albert Camus

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