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Caligula and Three Other Plays (Vintage) [Mass Market Paperback]

Albert Camus , Stuart Gilbert
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (Feb 1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394702077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394702070
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 11 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 611,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. His childhood was poor, although not unhappy. He studied philosophy at the University of Algiers, and became a journalist as well as organizing the Théâtre de l'équipe, a young avant-garde dramatic group.

His early essays were collected in L'Envers et l'endroit (The Wrong Side and the Right Side) and Noces (Nuptials). He went to Paris, where he worked on the newspaper Paris Soir before returning to Algeria. His play, Caligula, appeared in 1939. His first two important books, L'Etranger (The Outsider) and the long essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), were published when he returned to Paris.

After the occupation of France by the Germans in 1941, Camus became one of the intellectual leaders of the Resistance movement. He edited and contributed to the underground newspaper Combat, which he had helped to found. After the war he devoted himself to writing and established an international reputation with such books as La Peste (The Plague 1947), Les Justes (The Just 1949) and La Chute (The Fall; 1956). During the late 1950s Camus renewed his active interest in the theatre, writing and directing stage adaptations of William Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun and Dostoyevsky's The Possessed. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was killed in a road accident in 1960.

His last novel, Le Premier Homme (The First Man), unfinished at the time of his death, appeared for the first time in 1994. An instant bestseller, the book received widespread critical acclaim, and has been translated and published in over thirty countries. Much of Camus's work is available in Penguin.

Sartre paid tribute to him in his obituary notice: 'Camus could never cease to be one of the principal forces in our cultural domain, nor to represent, in his own way, the history of France and of this century.'

(Image: Albert Camus in Oran. Private collection. Rights reserved.)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The just assasins, a play by Albert Camus, is the most contemporary piece of literature on 'terrorism' in my opinion. From Osama to Bush, it seems every body is struggling to define terrorism in the modern day context. Is there any thing called good or bad terrorist? Camus has got the definition for you. It's amazing that Albert Camus could write such a marvellous play on 'terrorism' almost 50 years ago. Albert Camus Zindabad!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Camus' raw talent. There isn't anything negative to say about Camus, other than he died too young. If he'd lived through the 60's, he'd at the most give Sartre a good run for his money.
I love Camus simply because he's the only writer/philosopher who 'beats you up' with the truth, and comforts you with the notion, that he too has done this to himself. He doesn't try to replace your religion or your belief, or even question your place in the world. And he certainly didn't trade in one 'ism' for another like his Toad-faced contemporary!
Read this! It's wonderful. Camus sums up life's absurdities simplier than Kierkergaard and a tad bit kinder--maybe even sublte--than Nietzsche (who in my estimation is the one and only TRUE existential----maybe Che Guevara is a close second)
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Which is more dangerous, insane people or insane societies? 28 Nov 2004
By C. B Collins Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Camus does an excellent job of contrasting individual insanity and collective insanity in his play Caligula. Basically, Caligula is insane. He is a despot who holds the lives of his subjects in his hands. At times, for very arbitrary reasons, he kills or executes someone from his court. This seems arbitrary and frightenging. Yet, Caligula is contrasted against sane military officers who engage in terrible acts of war where thousands upon thousands of civilians and soldiers are killed. So who is insane? Is it the dictator who might execute someone in his court for very trivial reasons or is it the rational military general who kills thousands and thousands of persons in rational and supposedly justified warfare? Camus reveals to the careful reader that societal evil is far more dangerous than individual evil. This is a wonderful thoughtful classic play that demonstrates Camus' ability to bring complex concepts to dramatic life.

The Misunderstanding, another play in this volume, is another complex drama. An innkeeper and her old maid daughter kills guests of the inn when they are able to discern that the guest's death can not be tracked. They rob the guests which supplements their income. They long for the return of the beloved son of the innkeeper who has been gone for years and years without contact. As you might expect, the son returns to the inn and is murdered by his mother and sister. The deed is revealed when his wife arrives and finds him missing. Camus here deals with the concept of objectification of others so that violence may be done to them without remorse. When the innkeeper and her daughter find they have murdered the long lost son, they are beside themselves with grief. But yet they have murdered many innocent travelers without remorse because they have been able to divorce themselves from any thoughts that these travelers were fellow humans. A simple play with a simple point, yet it points to a terrible feature of human existence, that we can commit unspeakable horror on others once we have convinced ourselves that they are no longer human beings. Camus recognized that prejudice kills, it is not beneign.

I appreciate Camus' ability to make a point without preaching or overstating. I strongly suggest this book of 4 short plays.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a play! 5 July 2002
By Dustin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The cover of Caligula shows an abstract horse bucking, and that is just what Caligula does to us. It knocks us off our high-horse by bringing us face-to-face with death. Only (and I do not choose that word lightly) a true understanding of death can put lives in perspective. Sure Caligula is a despot who could have the life of any of his subjects, but the fact-of-the-matter is that our lives can end at any second. Caligula teaches us not to take life for granted, which is something that is all to easily done in this era. This theme also exists in State of Seige. The other two plays, The Misunderstanding, and The Just Assasins are more subtle, but they also deal with idea that we take petty concerns and ideas too seriously, and fail to look and the big picture. I should also add that the language and passion of the plays are exceptional.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 17 April 2013
By Samantha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
We read Caligula for my World lit 2 class. It was an excellent play that did a great job at illustrating the existentialist philosophy of Camus.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing as always 2 Aug 2005
By Zachary T. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Albert Camus is as good at writing plays as he is at everything else he does. Whether you are new to Camus or not, you will definately enjoy this.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Books 4 Oct 2013
By Christopher Hutton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had to buy the book for school. One of the most expansive books I bought. Any one in school knows buying on amazon is the best even though books should be included in the class cost.
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