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The Plague (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 5 Dec 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (5 Dec. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141185139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141185132
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Albert Camus is the author of a number of best-selling and highly influential works, all of which are published by Penguin. They include THE FALL, THE OUTSIDER and THE FIRST MAN. He is remembered as one of the few writers to have shaped the intellectual climate of post-war France, but beyond that, his fame has been international. Translated by Robin Buss With an Introduction by Tony Judt


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Brilliant though the short novel The Outsider is (and for that matter The Fall too), in my view this is Albert Camus' masterpiece in which he really expands and expounds at greater length his view of the human condition, how to live with and overcome the Absurd and find meaning in purely human terms. This is a beautifully written (though sometimes a little horrifying given the nature of the threat) novel in which the narrative depth and breadth of vision approach that of Joseph Conrad at his best, which for me is a high a recommendation as you can get. The characters are believable and you grow to really care about them as together they fight the plague. It's also quite a page turner at times. In short, this is one of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Haven't read this since I studied it for 'A Level' French. A real classic of French literature which is based on a town Camus actually had lived in - the allegory of the Nazi Occupation as a plague is subtly portrayed and the characters are portrayed brilliantly.
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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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By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Nov. 2002
Format: Hardcover
The Plague is easily one of the best ten novels ever written, far surpassing even the erstwhile classic The Stranger. Whereas we examine an uncommonly cold-hearted man in a normal world in the pages of The Stranger, in this novel it is a harsh outside world which closes in on a group of fascinating characters. It is in this much more developed context that Camus' most remarkale notions of humanity, life, and existence can be fleshed out and communicated more effectively. The lessons of good, normal lives in a world gone mad are much more instructive and meaningful than the observations in The Stranger of a man gone mad in a normal world.
A word to the wise: when large numbers of rats come out of the woodwork and commence dying nasty, bloody deaths in the streets and houses, public health is in danger. In the port city of Oran, the population ignores the signs of danger and only grudgingly admits that an epidemic, a form of the bubonic plague to be exact, has taken root in their city. The protagonist, Dr. Rieux, is a doctor who finally helps convince the authorities to take extreme measures in the interest of public safety and to eventually close the gates to town. Over the course of the novel, we get to observe the manner in which Dr. Rieux, his companions, and prominent men of the community react to the worsening plague and its social consequences. Dr. Rieux has just sent his unhealthy wife off to a sanitarium before the plague breaks out, and he must suffer her absence alongside the stresses of working 20+ hours a day trying to save people's lives while accomplishing little more than watching them die horrible deaths. Dr.
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Format: Paperback
In short, a city is subject to plague and isolates itself resulting in many reactions among its populace both to the isolation and the random unpredictable injustice of the disease, but through it all groups of diverse people band together to fight on despite the fact that, as one character notes, "victories will never be lasting".

We readers meet a fascinating 'cast' of characters who reveal ever more about themselves, and in reflection about ourselves, under the pressures of the plague. From the admirable and compelling characters of Rieux and Tarrou, the transformation of Rambert, to the pitiful character of Cottard and the various other characters we see a broad spectrum of people that on the whole reminds us that there is more to admire about humanity than to dislike.

It is this pulling together in the face of an unpredictable adversary that underlined, for me, the "take home" lesson of the novel. Never sure of any final victory against nor escape from the plague most people choose to fight it anyway, to work together rather than against each other.

There is much written about The Plague as an allegory relating to the occupation of France in WW2 and of the symbolism. Many will read it because they are to do so as part of a literature course but I would recommend it anyway - it reads well and is thought provoking and interesting, well written (well translated anyway!) and if you don't know the outcomes then it does make one want to find out what happens to the various characters.

A great book indeed and one I am very glad I have read!
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