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Louis Althusser (1918–1990) was born in Birmandries, in Algeria, to a petit-bourgeois, Catholic family. His father, Charles Althusser, was a bank manager and had all the traits of the authoritarian colonialist personality. The young Louis was fascinated by monastic life and remained a believer until after World War II.

In 1939, Althusser began his agrégation in philosophy at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure (Rue d'Ulm) in Paris, but the war intervened, so it was not until 1946, after a period in a German prison camp, that he could continue his studies, taking his agrégation in 1948, the same year that he joined the French Communist Party. After this, Althusser became the caïman of the École Normale Supérieure, a position that involved preparing candidates for the agrégation ...

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