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The Plague by Albert Camus

The Plague (1947)

by Albert Camus

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11,452119235 (3.95)2 / 379

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English (108)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (117)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
My first (and, so far, only) Camus novel. It's a dark, sad journey down from the very first illness. There are no twists; every plot twist, every spoiler, is well-foreshadowed and (if you're paying attention) evident long before they're revealed.
I do not speak or read French (much to my own chagrin), so I read Gilbert's English translation. I'm not sure how true this version stays to the original, but I must commend Mr. Gilbert as there are passages which are poetry, pure and simple. ( )
  zhyatt | Aug 10, 2014 |
This novel grew on me more and more as I read it. But still seemed to fall short. It tells the story of the arrival and departure of the plague from a French-Algerian town in the 1940s, largely told through the eyes of a local doctor. It is nicely structured, beginning with the ominous signs of dead rats and ending with the return of first rats, then cats, and then dogs marking the departure of the plague. It is all observed in great, with a somewhat less than fully omniscient narrator, who focuses on the impact the plague has on social relations and social order.

The observation is often very detached, the engagement with the characters distant and fleeting, which at times makes it more difficult to connect with the book.

The Plague is commonly described as an allegory for the Nazi occupation in World War II, but I don't see much beyond some obvious superficial analogies. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Second reading. This is an essential book. If there's a canon, The Plague belongs in it. A few things interested me this time through. Mostly the narrator's penchant, most effective, for writing about the town's collective mood. This device struck me as an improvement on the Soviet worker novels of the day (1947). The prose is not pumped up to triumphalist proportions. (There must be a scholar somewhere who's addresses this. I'll have to search LC.) Neither is there an idealized superman worker, but portraits of individuals with both flaws and great strengths. One wonders to what extent the novel had didactic intent. By that observation I don't mean to trivialize the book's elegant high style, its sheer brilliance, its profound insights into life, death and duty. This is an astonishing book and I highly recommended it.

PS A new translation of Exile and the Kingdom appeared in 2007. Can a new translation of The Plague be far off? Let's hope not. This one was published in 1948! ( )
  William345 | Jun 11, 2014 |
Could not engage - and something about the idea that the war or the Nazi occupation of France was the reality behind the metaphor of plague kept troubling me throughout. If so, Camus was guilty of naturalizing a purely human evil. The message may have seemed radical in its day, no divine will at issue and all that - but I found it dated, not much deeper than classical liberalism. ( )
  CSRodgers | May 3, 2014 |
Enjoyed some but for the most part I found it long-winded. I feel I probably missed what I was supposed to be getting, the sky didn't open up, no aha! moments but I admit near the end I was starting to skim just to finish it. Didn't understand the point of Tarrou's journal or the big deal who the narrator of the story turns out to be (the reader finds out at the very end). Glad I finally read Camus but this will be the last. ( )
  flippinpages | Apr 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Camus, Albertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corsari, WillyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, StuartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'It is as reasonable to represent one kind of imprisonment by another, as it is to represent anything that really exists by that which exists not! -' ('Robinson Crusoe's preface' to the third volume of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe).
First words
The unusual events described in this chronicle occurred in 194- at Oran.
Les curieux événements qui font le sujet de cette chronique se sont produits en 194., à Oran.
Le matin du 16 avril, le docteur Bernard Rieux sortit de son cabinet et buta sur un rat mort, au milieu du palier
"Oran, however, seems to be a town without intimations; in other words, completely modern."
The distinction can be made between men and, for example, dogs; men’s deaths are checked and entered up.
"They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences."
"In normal times all of us know, whether consciously or not, that there is no love which can't be bettered; nevertheless we reconcile ourselves more or less easily to the fact that ours has never risen above the average."
"You'd almost think they expected to be given medals for it. But what does that mean—'plague'? Just life, no more than that."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679720219, Paperback)

The Nobel prize-winning Albert Camus, who died in 1960, could not have known how grimly current his existentialist novel of epidemic and death would remain. Set in Algeria, in northern Africa, The Plague is a powerful study of human life and its meaning in the face of a deadly virus that sweeps dispassionately through the city, taking a vast percentage of the population with it.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:44 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Chaos prevails when the bubonic plague strikes the Algerian coastal city of Oran. A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus' novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185139, 0141045515, 0141049235

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