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June 1953

What a Writer Seeks
by Albert Camus

Before being known, a writer in our time must accept having a small number of readers. A healthy condition. But from the moment his reputation begins to boom, when he becomes material for a newspaper article, then he has every prospect of becoming known to a great number of people who will never read him. Then he will be known, not for what he is, but according to the image created by a hurried but infallible reporter. The image will be false or ridiculous—or both—as the case may be. The fact is that to make a name in literature today, it is not absolutely necessary to write books. It is enough to be said to have written one which the evening papers have reviewed, and on which one may henceforth sleep. But the man who actually aspires to writing real books must resign himself either to remaining anonymous or to accepting the gift of a name not his own.

Volume 191, No. 6, pp. 72–73

For copyright reasons, the full text of this article is not available on The Atlantic's site.