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Notebooks 1951-1959 [Kindle Edition]

Albert Camus , Ryan Bloom
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Withheld from publication in France for twenty-nine years after his death, and now in English for the first time, Camus's final journals give us our rawest and most intimate glimpse yet into one of the most important voices of French letters and twentieth-century literature. The first two volumes of his Notebooks began as simple instruments of his work; this final volume, recorded over the last nine years of his life, take on the characteristics of a more personal diary. Fearing that his memory was beginning to fail him, Camus noted here his reactions to the polemics stirred by The Rebel, his feelings about the Algerian War, his sojourns in Greece and Italy, thinly veiled observations on his wife and lovers, heartaches over his family, and anxiety over the Nobel Prize that he was awarded in 1957.

As in the earlier Notebooks, we see here also the birth of some of Camus's greatest works: The Fall, Exile and the Kingdom, and his unfinished masterpiece, The First Man. His gorgeous travel descriptions, his political observations, and his philosophical musings are the most appealing features of these recorded thoughts. Notebooks 1951-1959 completes one of the most important set of literary "working papers" of the past century. Ryan Bloom's sensitive translation was shortlisted for the French-American Foundation and Florence Gould Foundation translation prize for nonfiction.

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From the moment that I am no longer more than a writer, I shall cease to write.' Camus declared this credo for himself in Carnete 1942-51. It is valid for all of us who write and is as passionately evident in this later collection of his notebooks written until the year of his death. He was a great writer, one of the few of his time, and is for all time; true to his convictions, more than a writer, a man who took on human responsibility in individual action for justice. -- Nadine Gordimer This is the intimate record-the only one we have-of the final years of Albert Camus. Years that should have been glorious, leading up to and including his Nobel Prize. But for Camus they were the saddest years. He had lost the ideological battle to his arch-enemy Jean-Paul Sartre, or at least he was meant to feel that he had. He was genuinely ill, acknowledging defeat from illness of a lifetime. Death-his own-is a leitmotiv running through this journal. He would of course die soon after writing these final pages. He died not because of his lungs but when a friend drove their automobile into a tree. Camus would have enjoyed the irony of this, for irony was another of his leitmotivs. Now we can be grateful that Camus put so much of his existence into his notebooks, grateful to his family for allowing them to be published, and to his publishers for giving them to us. -- Herbert Lottman Ryan Bloom has superbly contextualized his highly readable translation of Camus's last working notebooks. His translator's note, a model of its kind, explains why he lets Camus's French echo through the English. -- Marilyn Gaddis-Rose Notebooks is a fascinating look into the mind of a man who influenced an entire generation, and a bit of nostalgia for when writers were important participants in the international dialogue on good government. ForeWord Reviews Smoothly translated...diaristic, expansive and self revealing...Reinforce[s] Camus' stubborn determination to lead a meaningful life in an indifferent universe. Publishers Weekly Bloom has succeeded masterfully in preserving Camus's thoughts as they appeared in his original cahiers. A highly recommended work offering insight into the thoughts of a great writer. Library Journal Anyone interested in the works of Camus will benefit from this work. Metapsychology Online Reviews From his travels to his observations about life and politics, this concludes a fine expose of Camus' life and thoughts and is a must... Midwest Book Review One of the pleasures of this edition of Albert Camus's late-life notebooks is in skipping around: Certainly, they can read straight through, but the compact philosophical aphorisms sprinkled among the longer passages-which include fascinating drafts of letters to friends-encourage a hopscotcher's approach. New York Magazine Notebooks 1951-1959 comes to us raw... it offers an unmediated look at the author's mind in the final years of a productive but tormented life... this volume is a valuable guide to understanding the author. San Antonio Current [A] fascinating glimpse into a mind tormented by bitterness and dissatisfaction... Anglophone readers can finally appreciate Camus' full scope as man and author. CHOICE

About the Author

Albert Camus won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957. His most important works are The Stranger, The Plague, The Fall, The Rebel, The Myth of Sisyphus, and Resistance, Rebellion, and Death. Ryan Bloom's writings and translations have appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Horizon Magazine, and the Arabesques Review. He also teaches English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Camus does not disappoint. 14 April 2014
By Ana B
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recommend this to anyone who's a fan of Camus and wants to get to know him a bit better. Some of the things he wrote managed to make my heart ache a few times. Once I'd finished this book I felt like I admired & loved him even more than I did before. Can't wait to read the previous ones :-)!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'must' for any college-level collection strong in Camus 8 Jun. 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
College-level collections strong on Camus will find this a special acquisition presenting the notebooks withheld in France for some 29 years after his death, appearing for the first time in English. The first two volumes of his notebooks began simply but this concluding volume was written over the last nine years that he lived, and reads more intimately, like a diary. From his travels to his observations about life and politics, this concludes a fine expose of Camus' life and thoughts and is a 'must' for any college-level collection strong in Camus, particularly those who have his previous earlier notebooks.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious as the earlier volumes 9 Nov. 2008
By Marcel Louis - Published on
In his notebooks, Albert Camus is truthful, intelligent, articulate, and absolutely never dull. He was the rarest of beings, especially for a man; within Camus, mind-truths and body-truths remained wedded all his days, and nights. Including the contradictions--those are married, too. The guy is irresistible. This volume of his carnets is as delicious as the ones that came before. No matter what your mood--happy, sad, bored (which is probably the same as sad)--the jottings and drafts of Camus' pulsings and articulations will take you where you are, lift and turn you, will change your life.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Interesting 18 Mar. 2009
By Steiner - Published on
These journal entries are far more cursory and selective and the beautiful journals of Gide or Kafka, but there are still glimpses into Camus' creative process and literary interests which often go unnoticed by biographers. He was surprisingly preoccupied with Don Juan and the work of Pasternak, and his explicit anti-communism comes through here repeatedly. There are numerous rough passages which would later be reworked into 'The Fall,' as well as 'Exile and the Kingdom,' but for the most part these fragments are a bit cryptic and uninteresting.
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting as a historical document 27 Feb. 2009
By Michael F. Herrmann - Published on
The entries vary. Some go on for several paragraphs, others (most) are short and frequently obscure. Still, there's enough, in his inimitable style, to make even his jottings interesting. The man played his cards close...and admits as much. Thus, the sordid bits are missing. Footnotes here and there help, but not much. His angst at being human does, as one might expect, come through. But if you're looking for insights into WHY, you'll be disappointed. (He DOES sprinkle the occasional aphorism.) Accolades are definitely due Mr. Ryan Bloom (translator). Worth a skim.
5.0 out of 5 stars CAMUS IS CAMUS IS CAMUS 13 April 2014
By neuriarnold - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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