The Plague (Penguin Modern Classics)

The Plague (Penguin Modern Classics)

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The Plague (Penguin Modern Classics) by Albert Camus

The Plague is Albert Camus's world-renowned fable of fear and courage The townspeople of Oran are in the grip of a deadly plague, which condemns its victims to a swift and horrifying death. Fear, isolation and claustrophobia follow as they are forced into quarantine. Each person responds in their own way to the lethal disease: some resign themselves to fate, some seek blame, and a few, like Dr Rieux, resist the terror. An immediate triumph when it was published in 1947, The Plague is in part an allegory of France's suffering under the Nazi occupation, and a story of bravery and determination against the precariousness of human existence. 'A matchless fable of fear, courage and cowardice' Independent 'Magnificent'The Times Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. He studied philosophy in Algiers and then worked in Paris as a journalist. He was one of the intellectual leaders of the Resistance movement and, after the War, established his international reputation as a writer. His books include The Plague, The Just and The Fall, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Camus was killed in a road accident in 1960.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141185132
Publisher: Penguin UK
Publication date: 11/26/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.77(h) x 0.61(d)

About the Author

Born in Algeria in 1913, Albert Camus published The Stranger— now one of the most widely read novels of this century— in 1942. Celebrated in intellectual circles, Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. On January 4, 1960, he was killed in a car accident.

Tony Judt was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies at New York University, as well as the founder and director of the Remarque Institute, dedicated to creating an ongoing conversation between Europe and the United States. He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge, and the École Normale Supérieure, Paris, and also taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and Berkeley. Professor Judt was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic, The New York Times, and many journals across Europe and the United States. He is the author or editor of fifteen books, including Thinking the Twentieth Century, The Memory Chalet, Ill Fares the Land, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, and Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, which was one of The New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of 2005, the winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He died in August 2010 at the age of sixty-two.

Robin Buss is a writer and translator who works for the Independent on Sunday and as television critic for The Times Educational Supplement. He studied at the University of Paris, where he took a degree and a doctorate in French literature. He is part-author of the article 'French Literature' in Encyclopaedia Britannica and has published critical studies of works by Vigny and Cocteau, and three books on European cinema, The French Through Their Films (1988), Italian Films (1989) and French Film Noir (1994). He has also translated a number of volumes for Penguin Classics.

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The Plague 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
rmishou More than 1 year ago
Camus' classic is a must read. As much great literature does, this book works on several levels. It is a clear allegory about the dangers of fascism. The plague begins to appear with the dramatic increase in dead rats. The dangers are largely ignored until things have worsened and it is too late to stop the calamity. Couple this allegory with astute insight into the psychology of human nature and Camus' work borders on amazing. The town seems to resign themselves to their fate, barely fighting, as if already defeated. This book does not fall back to a typical medical thriller where the source must be found and millions are saved at the last minute. Instead, Camus has people die and react to the indiscriminate nature of the disease, killing young and old, rich and poor. As expected there are those who profit from disaster and those you have the money to buy the slowly disappearing food, but Camus resists the urge to cheapen his book with tricks and fabricated action scenes. This books is an intense, existential study of the human psyche in the face of a natural disaster or, allegorically, a dangerous, oppressive government bent on killing individuality and imagination. Camus leaves the reader with the chilling reminder that the plague can lie dormant for years and return at any time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Camus', The Plague, is a gripping novel that is definitely worth reading. Camus focuses on the human experience by illustrating the power that fear of an undiscriminating plague with terrible suffering has over an impersonal community the power to bring them together. At the time, the people in the city of Oran, in Africa were distant, lifeless, and cold until forced into cooperation in a fight for their lives to stop the spreading plague and counteract the terrible human suffering. With vivid imagery, Camus pulls the reader into the story and challenges what their mind can take. Visions of the Holocaust are seen through the way the people of Oran deal with the countless deaths caused by the plague. The narrator describes, 'The corpses were tipped pell-mell into the pits and had hardly settled into place when spadefuls of quicklime began to sear their faces and the earth covered them indistinctively, in holes dug steadily steeper as time went on.' The large amounts of deaths in Oran made the people and city loose all formality and personality in the deaths of their loved ones. Soon those people were just another body to bury among many. With the constant idea of death looming over the heads of people in the city of Oran they still found reason to push on, to beat the plague. The plague was soon taking no prisoners, it didn't matter if you were the wealthy or the poor of Oran your life was up for the taking. Camus writes, 'But once the town gates were shut, every one of us realized that all, the narrator included, were, so to speak, in the same boat, and each would have to adapt himself to the new conditions of life.' Read The Plague and experience the struggle for yourself!
DeDeFlowers More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Camus. The Stranger and A Happy Death are two of my very favorite books. That being said, I had a very hard time with The Plague. The storyline is really great and I went into it with a good attitude, but I just could not for the life of me get into it. I thought it was really boring and strange to read. I could only read about half of it before putting back on the shelf. I probably will try again later. All this being said, it is obviously loved by most of the reviewers, so it must be good. And if you like Camus' other stuff you probably will also enjoy this. I just didn't.
FocoProject More than 1 year ago
I¿ll be forward about the fact that I am about to give this book a review it does not deserve. I am aware enough to know that even if I did not enjoy this book as much as it should have, the literary work is still very good.

The story itself interesting, dealing with a small town in Algeria (Northern Africa) which finds itself under the sudden punishment of the Plague. At first it is the dead rats that appear on the streets, eventually people succumbing and soon the gates to the city are closed and this community is forced to be isolated from the rest of the world until the malady retreats.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the subject matter or the characters, but rather, to me, the way it was written was not the most approachable of ways. Instead of allowing us to make a true connection with the characters, the author opts to narrate this almost in a journalistic fashion, which gives us a lot of facts from a detached point of view. The main character himself, who serves as the narrator, explains that this is how it will be done from the beginning and while it is effective, I found it less enjoyable than if the author had allowed us to become more personal with the characters.

The vocabulary used here is also above par, which makes it a bit slower reading, with deliciously stringed together sentences that somehow do not entirely lose their magic in the translation from French. So, if my review seems a bit lower than it should be, keep in mind that it was only because I personally found it to not be my type of reading. Some of you may think this book is much better and I would not think you wrong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the book interesting, however, it is a rather dark read. The disease in the Algerian towm seems real and the characters pretty apathetic to their condition. No surprises or twists in the story line. A real treatise on city government control in a crisis.
Kathryn Nicely More than 1 year ago
Camus concerns himself with the hearts of men, and puts them in terrible situations to explore their reactions. Ultimately what he sees is that most don't see, but those who do strive ceaselessly for life. I imagine this translation loses what many consider his lyrical style, and thats to be expected, but at times it is tough to read. Certainly worth it, however.
Trevor Fraser More than 1 year ago
Those familiar with Camus will know what to expect in term of philosophy. There's a quote-worthy line on nearly every page. It's definitely a book to ponder, to absorb and to compare to your own life. But you'll probably be pleasantly surprised by the engaging storyline and warm, tactile characters. Not as depressing or internal as The Stranger or A Happy Death, this book plays like a good tv miniseries, with drama and humor in equal measure. The translation seems wordier than I think of Camus being, but it's rarely distracting. All in all a terrific read I look forward to reading again.
James_Blaze More than 1 year ago
Although a bit slow at times, this is a very good book that is worth reading. This book has a lot of characters that I found interesting and memorable. Like the characters, the text is very deep and philosphical, and I will probably have to read the story again to fully understand it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not a fan of Camus. This was my first read and unfortunately, it could be my last. Although others regard him highly, I found The Plague tedious, not in difficult to read but rather tedious in using a narrator to promote the interest and depth of the story. There were times when I felt as if I was being forced to "pull" the story from the narrator's voice. The story has been told before and the same questions remain. "What would any of us do in the same circumstance?" Truth be told...None of us knows.
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elprofe01 More than 1 year ago
One detail of its artistic framework that struck me was the Cervantine technique of inventing a narrator. We know at the end that the narrator is Doctor Bernard Rieux, the man who experienced more than any the onslaught of the epidemic. But in effect, there are three narrators. Weakness or strength? Any comments?
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AdamZ1 More than 1 year ago
The philosophical novel at its finest. Camus creates a situation—a plague—and then proceeds to exhaust various responses to it. Brilliant. Read it alongside Saramago's BLINDNESS for a truly interesting experience.
Raging_Rhino More than 1 year ago
The Plague is an exciting story of the outbreak of the dreaded "Plague" that has horrified mean and women for centuries. The location is romantic Northern Africa in the Forties. Pay attention to the characters as they interact with each other and a situation that overwhelms individuals and families. Camus uses his characters to ask the very questions we should be asking ourselves about our existence, our purpose in life and even about God. The question I ask myself is: how would I react in such a situation?
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