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The Plague (1947)

by Albert Camus

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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17,550230255 (3.95)2 / 590
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.
1940s (23)
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English (187)  Italian (9)  Spanish (8)  Dutch (8)  Catalan (4)  French (3)  German (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (228)
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
Essential reading (or re-reading, as was the case with me) during our current pandemic, as many articles have suggested in various venues online in the last two-or-so months.

Camus's insight into the different ways humans deal with pandemics, the psychological malfunctions, the governmental and bureaucratic fuck ups, and people's myriad responses are all so many illuminating (and frightening) mirrors held up to our world now.

Please read the Robin Buss translation (Penguin), until a new one is published; the Stuart Gilbert one (Vintage) is a bit anachronistic with Camus's French, and also somewhat too "quaint" for the subject matter of La Peste. ( )
  proustitute | Apr 2, 2023 |
I put this novel on my to be read pile some years ago and have only just got around to reading it. During Covid-19 it wasn't something I could pick up and I am sure I got different things from it following lockdowns. The novel uses Albert Camus' usual style but I felt did get bogged down occasionally too. The narrator, revealed at the end, gives a detailed account of the plague and the measures the city takes to deal with it. He describes the ebb and flow of the days through the different seasons and describes the weather, often in detail. There are a small number of characters and the reader hears how the plague affects each of them. I didn't particularly enjoy this but it held my interest enough to finish it. ( )
  CarolKub | Mar 16, 2023 |
Read this for my book club because ~ooohhh covid~ and all that shit. I did not realize until I started reading it that it was about the ACTUAL plague, for some reason I assumed it was about a mysterious disease and the title was a metaphor. Lol.

It was hard to keep up with all the characters, but it was definitely interesting to read it in light of an actual pandemic. But other than that it wasn't very exciting and there were a bit too many parts where the fictional author was thinking out loud that didn't really interest me. ( )
  upontheforemostship | Feb 22, 2023 |
Maybe the year 2020 wasn’t the right time to read this one.

My father studied Mediterranean Studies at University a decade before I was born, and when I grew older and started to understand concepts like philosophy, he told me about this book and how he had read it when he was at university and thought I should read it one day too. The name stuck with me for a very long time, and I eventually got my hands on a copy and managed to read it.

Albert Camus places this story in Algeria, in a town that is suddenly ravaged by a plague that starts with the rats and spreads to the population with insane rapidity. Before long, the whole town (which is located near a port and is miles away from the next settlement) is shut down completely – nobody in, nobody out. At first, things seem to be alright, with people obeying curfew and the like, but very soon the plague lasts for longer than their supplies can, and the plague becomes a much bigger problem than expected.

But below the surface of the obvious story of a plague that is ravaging a town is the metaphor that Camus is trying to relay to us. Camus lived through the Nazi occupation of France, a time that he felt was like a plague – an unspeakable evil that couldn’t be defeated through conventional means and that left many people struggling. Camus wrote this novel not just as a story about a plague, but also as a metaphor about the evil of the Nazi party and how they took over his beloved France and turned it against itself.

Camus’s writing is impassioned and beautiful, but you can also tell that he is, primarily, a philosopher. Some of the sentences are very long winding and can lose you halfway. Most of the characters blended together for me, to the point where I wasn’t sure who he was referring to, but that is mostly a critique regarding names being very similar and descriptions being scarce. However, the few characters that did stick out to me were fantastic, having such distinct personalities and struggles in the war against the plague that it’s hard to confuse them. A doctor trying his best to help his community, a struggling writer who decides to volunteer in some way, a journalist who is stuck in Algeria and trying to get back to his beloved, and a man who is oddly a bit too suspicious for anyone’s liking – all of these characters are brilliantly built up and giving more than enough of their own page-time for you to get to know them. And one thing that I have to admit is that, while the endings aren’t completely happy for each of them, they are what is realistic in times of illness and struggle.

All in all, I give this book a 3/5 because the sentences were sometimes a bit too long-winding for me. Maybe I can read this book in a few years once COVID-19 is a thing of the past and reflect on it in relation to what had happened then. ( )
  viiemzee | Feb 20, 2023 |
Ich habe nicht das Buch gelesen, sondern das komplette Hörbuch gehört.
Das Buch war sehr interessant und kurzweilig und speziell das Nachdenken über die Parallelen, wie damals und in der heutigen Zeit mit einer Pandemie umgegangen wird, waren sehr interessant und machen das Buch sehr lesenswert. ( )
1 vote Merano | Feb 19, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
Extraordinary....There are things in this book which no reader will ever forget.
added by SaraElizabeth11 | editSpectator
Of such importance to our times that to dismiss it would be to blaspheme against the human spirit.
added by SaraElizabeth11 | editNew York Times Book Review
A perfect achievement.
added by SaraElizabeth11 | editNew Republic
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.
added by Lemeritus | editWorldCat Abstract

» Add other authors (59 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Camus, Albertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buss, RobinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chacel, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corsari, WillyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dal Fabbro, BeniaminoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, StuartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jenner, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Judt, TonyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mannerkorpi, JuhaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mannerkorpi, JukkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meister, Guido G.Translatorsecondary 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).
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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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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.

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Book description
Orano è colpita da un'epidemia inesorabile e tremenda. Isolata con un cordone sanitario dal resto del mondo, affamata, incapace di fermare la pestilenza, la città diventa il palcoscenico e il vetrino da esperimento per le passioni di un'umanità al limite tra disgregazione e solidarietà. La fede religiosa, l'edonismo di chi non crede alle astrazioni, ma neppure è capace di "essere felice da solo", il semplice sentimento del proprio dovere sono i protagonisti della vicenda; l'indifferenza, il panico, lo spirito burocratico e l'egoismo gretto gli alleati del morbo. Scritto da Camus secondo una dimensione corale e con una scrittura che sfiora e supera la confessione, "La peste" è un romanzo attuale e vivo, una metafora in cui il presente continua a riconoscersi.
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185139, 0141045515, 0141049235


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