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The Plague (Twentieth Century Classics) Paperback – 23 Nov 1989


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Paperback, 23 Nov 1989
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (23 Nov 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140180206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140180206
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 592,898 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Aug 2004
Format: Paperback
The Plague is about love, exile, and suffering as illuminated by living around death.
What is the meaning of life? For many, that question is an abstraction except in the context of being aware of losing some of the joys of life, or life itself. In The Plague, Camus creates a timeless tale of humans caught in the jaws of implacable death, in this case a huge outbreak of bubonic plague in Oran, Algeria on the north African coast. With the possibility of dying so close, each character comes to see his or her life differently. In a sense, we each get a glimpse of what we, too, may think about life in the last hours and days before our own deaths. The Plague will leave you with a sense of death as real rather than as an abstraction. Then by reflecting in the mirror of that death, you can see life more clearly.
For example, what role would you take if bubonic plague were to be unleashed in your community? Would you flee? Would you help relieve the suffering? Would you become a profiteer? Would you help maintain order? Would you withdraw or seek out others? These are all important questions for helping you understand yourself that this powerful novel will raise for you.
The book is described as objectively as possible by a narrator, who is one of the key figures in the drama. That literary device allows each of us to insert ourselves into the situation.
Let me explain the main themes. Love is expressed in many ways. There is the love of men and women for each other. Dr. Rieux's wife is ill, and has just left for treatment at a sanitarium. Rambert, a journalist on temporary assignment, is separated from his live-in girl friend in Paris. Dr. Rieux's mother comes to stay with him during his mother's absence, so there is also love of parent and child.
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