Notebooks, 1951-1959: Volume III, 1951-1959

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Metapsychology Online Reviews
Anyone interested in the works of Camus will benefit from this work.
San Antonio Current
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.
Choice
[A] fascinating glimpse into a mind tormented by bitterness and dissatisfaction... Anglophone readers can finally appreciate Camus' full scope as man and author.
CHOICE
[A] fascinating glimpse into a mind tormented by bitterness and dissatisfaction... Anglophone readers can finally appreciate Camus' full scope as man and author.
ForeWord Reviews
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.
Nadine Gordimer
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.
Herbert Lottman
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.
Marilyn Gaddis-Rose
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.
Midwest Book Review
From his travels to his observations about life and politics, this concludes a fine expose of Camus' life and thoughts and is a must...
New York Magazine
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.
Michael Dirda
Camus the moralist and observer is definitely present, and he keeps us turning the pages…It's simply a pure and bountiful good to have this book available in English. Even for those long past their college days, Albert Camus remains a god, immortal and forever young.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

The French existentialist literary lion's belief that one writes as one lives suffuses these journals covering his last decade. Especially in the earlier years, these are very much working notebooks, full of undigested, fragmentary, sometimes cryptic raw material for later writings. Smoothly translated by Bloom, who teaches at the University of Maryland-Baltimore, the entries include thoughts on passages from Tolstoy, Dostoyevski, Emerson and Nietzsche; philosophical pensées("Naturalness is not a virtue that one has: it is acquired"); jotted ideas for novels and plays ("Play: A happy man. And nobody can put up with him"); and crumbs of surreal whimsy ("A courageous cravat" reads one entry in its entirety). Later entries become more diaristic, expansive and self-revealing. They include Camus's agonized ruminations on France's war with his native Algeria, letters attacking French intellectuals' Stalinist sympathies, observations on his wife's depression, an affecting homage to his ailing mother and elaborations on his project of rescuing humanism from ideology. The notebooks' atmospherics, like a Gaulois-hazed room, are serious and tinged with thoughts of suicide. But there are extended breaks in the angst-including luminous travelogues from sojourns in Greece-that reinforce Camus's stubborn determination to lead a meaningful life in an indifferent universe. (May 18)

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Library Journal

Withheld from publication in France for nearly three decades after Camus's death in 1959 and published in English for the first time, these final notebooks offer a glimpse into the mind of one of the 20th century's most important writers, Nobel prize winner Albert Camus. Camus's first six notebooks were earlier published in two volumes; this volume contains the seventh, eighth, and ninth notebooks. Spanning the years 1951 to 1958, the seventh and eighth notebooks describe Camus's progress in regard to his writing; the ninth notebook is more personal. As editor and translator Bloom observes, we get a chance to see the man ("I have always had the impression of being on the high sea threatened in the middle of a royal happiness," Camus here writes), to know his works, and to watch them grow. Because no typescript of Camus's eighth and ninth notebooks existed, Bloom (English, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore Cty.) had to decipher Camus's handwriting, struggling with often ambiguous punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure. Inserting only commas as needed, 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.
—Bob Ivey

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566638500
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 10/16/2010
  • Edition description: Volume 3
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 782,940
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Notebook VII. March 1951-July 1954 1

Notebook VIII. August 1954-July 1958 103

Appendix to Notebook VIII 217

Notebook IX. July 1958-Decernber 1959 227

Afterword 261

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