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The Plague (Essential Penguin) Paperback – 3 Sep 1998


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Paperback, 3 Sep 1998
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (3 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140278516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140278514
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.1 x 18.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 352,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Translated by Stuart Gilbert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. He studied philosophy and then went to work in Paris as a journalist. His play Caligula appeared in 1939. He established an international reputation with books such as The Outsider, The Plague, The Just and The Fall and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was killed in a road accident in 1960. His last novel, The First Man, unfinished at the time of his death, appeared for the first time in 1994.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. Alcat on 21 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
This book isn't overly engaging, it is somewhat shocking at times, and its prose is probably too dry. Despite that, I highly recommend it to you... Why?. Well, the reason is simple. The plot of "The Plague" is merely a way of understanding something that has to do with our everyday life, and the way we live it.
Succinctly, the story begins when a plague strikes the North-African town of Oran. People at first try to ignore the clues that show that something bad is happening. When they cannot help but recognize that things are seriously wrong, a quarantine is declared. For those inside the walls of Oran, reality changes: death is omnipresent, and loneliness and despair, feelings they must confront. Different people react in diverse ways to the same reality, and we get to know about them through the narrator of this book, that also happens to be one of the protagonists. The real question that most of the persons in Oran ask themselves sooner or later is whether is it worthwhile to fight against the plague, when the outcome in that unfair war is almost certain death...
I won't give you the answers they find, if any. For that, you need to read the book... However, I can tell you Albert Camus' opinion. Camus (1913-1960) thought that it is in the fighting against evil that mankind finds its greatness (and maybe justification, who knows), even if we face what might seem at first sight a desperate situation. In a way, I think that for Camus the plague was in this case an allegory of evil, and our attitude against it. That evil changes faces, but always reappears, and it is again time to make choices, and decide what kind of attitude we will take. It is only in the right decisions that we will find the meaning we were searching for.
Again, recommended...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Depressaholic on 17 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
Camus’ ‘The Plague’ is one of his definitive absurdist statements, simply stated and beautifully constructed. The main question of Camus’ philosophy was, in an atheistic world, in which there is no afterlife, can there be any sensible way of deciding how to live our lives, knowing all the while that they will inevitably end in death? Central to this is an awareness of the proximity of death. It is this idea that ‘The Plague’ plays with so brilliantly. At the time of publication, Europe was just emerging from WWII, and France from Nazi occupation, both of which had brought the reality of death much closer.
‘The Plague’ is set on the town of Oran, Algeria. The first signs of plague are when the rats emerge onto the streets and begin dying in large numbers. Throughout the book, the threat of plague becomes more real, starting as a mere idea, then as an ignorable threat, then a pandemic which eventually causes a state of emergency and finally as an enemy to be battled. Through this device, Camus’ is able to examine the behaviour of the townspeople as the threat of death becomes ever closer. In particular, he focuses on a small group of men and their interaction with the plague. There is the doctor fighting the plague (Rieux), the gangster on the run who welcomes it (Cottard), the priest (Paneloux), the reformed terrorist (Tarrou), among others, All of which serve to illustrate the variety of human responses to death.
‘The Plague’ is, for me, one of three great Absurdist works by Camus (‘The Outsider’ and ‘Exile and the Kingdom’ being the others). Of the three it is probably my least favourite, because Camus’ dry prose doesn’t especially lend itself to longer books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 July 2000
Format: Paperback
Camus is one of the greatest polemicist of this century and combines the tragedy of the plague with the tragedy of France under German occupation this novel details the seperation of Oran and Frances separation from the outside world. Although I am a newcomer to Camus his thoughts and his depth of writing convey the alienation of his first noel the outsider with modern european history. his major success is conveying this theme of alienation toa wider setting of a town at odds with society in comparison with the individual at odds in the outsider. The desolation in the novel is used through a sympathetic narrator who recalls the events of the plague and the madness and absurdity of this calamity with the resulting effects on the towns population as the plague takes its toll on the town. The narrator is also given an important element of abstraction from the plague while dealing with it simultaneously, thus adding to the alienation and general helplessness that runs through the book. A classic in its time and one that will last forever and should not be left to lain dormant.
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Format: Paperback
Albert Camus's allegorical tale of a community cut off from the outside world is a work of aching compassion for the human condition. The small Algerian town of Oran is overwhelmed by a catastrophic outbreak of bubonic plague which forces the authorities to isolate and quarantine its population. As the death toll rises, doctor and humanitarian Bernard Rieux, together with volunteers, does his best for the cause of human life within the limits of modern medicine.
This is a story about human beings under siege where death threatens all equally, about their reactions and their different means of dealing with isolation from friends, family and love, of maintaining daily routine in the face of constant, debilitating fear. How do people react under trauma? Why do some individuals grasp for dear life at the piece of driftwood in the ocean after their boat has capsized while others let go meekly straight away and drift into oblivion? In The Plague we see all; those who cope and those who don't, those who sacrifice and those who exploit. It is an existential tale of humanity in all its diversity and demonstrates why social justice can never be realised in a Godless world wracked by arbitrary biological injustice.
Written just after the end of Nazi occupation of France The Plague can be read as an allegory of that occupation but equally of the Holocaust or the Siege of Leningrad. Beautiful, powerful and profoundly moving, this is European literature on a different level.
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