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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 ...
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.
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)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
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