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The Plague, The Fall, Exile and The Kingdom and Selected Essays (Everyman's Library Classics, #278)

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(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed) From one of the most brilliant and influential thinkers of the twentieth century–two novels, six short stories, and a pair of essays in a single volume. In both his essays and his fiction, Albert Camus (1913—1960) de-ployed his lyric eloquence in defense against despair, providing an affirmation of the brave assertion of humanity in the face o (Book Jacket Status: Jacketed) From one of the most brilliant and influential thinkers of the twentieth century–two novels, six short stories, and a pair of essays in a single volume. In both his essays and his fiction, Albert Camus (1913—1960) de-ployed his lyric eloquence in defense against despair, providing an affirmation of the brave assertion of humanity in the face of a universe devoid of order or meaning. The Plague–written in 1947 and still profoundly relevant–is a riveting tale of horror, survival, and resilience in the face of a devastating epidemic. The Fall (1956), which takes the form of an astonishing confession by a French lawyer in a seedy Amsterdam bar, is a haunting parable of modern conscience in the face of evil. The six stories of Exile and the Kingdom (1957) represent Camus at the height of his narrative powers, masterfully depicting his characters–from a renegade missionary to an adulterous wife –at decisive moments of revelation. Set beside their fictional counterparts, Camus’s famous essays “The Myth of Sisyphus” and “Reflections on the Guillotine” are all the more powerful and philosophically daring, confirming his towering place in twentieth-century thought.


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(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed) From one of the most brilliant and influential thinkers of the twentieth century–two novels, six short stories, and a pair of essays in a single volume. In both his essays and his fiction, Albert Camus (1913—1960) de-ployed his lyric eloquence in defense against despair, providing an affirmation of the brave assertion of humanity in the face o (Book Jacket Status: Jacketed) From one of the most brilliant and influential thinkers of the twentieth century–two novels, six short stories, and a pair of essays in a single volume. In both his essays and his fiction, Albert Camus (1913—1960) de-ployed his lyric eloquence in defense against despair, providing an affirmation of the brave assertion of humanity in the face of a universe devoid of order or meaning. The Plague–written in 1947 and still profoundly relevant–is a riveting tale of horror, survival, and resilience in the face of a devastating epidemic. The Fall (1956), which takes the form of an astonishing confession by a French lawyer in a seedy Amsterdam bar, is a haunting parable of modern conscience in the face of evil. The six stories of Exile and the Kingdom (1957) represent Camus at the height of his narrative powers, masterfully depicting his characters–from a renegade missionary to an adulterous wife –at decisive moments of revelation. Set beside their fictional counterparts, Camus’s famous essays “The Myth of Sisyphus” and “Reflections on the Guillotine” are all the more powerful and philosophically daring, confirming his towering place in twentieth-century thought.

30 review for The Plague, The Fall, Exile and The Kingdom and Selected Essays (Everyman's Library Classics, #278)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Consisting of two novellas (The Plague and The Fall), a collection of short stories (Exile And The Kingdom) and two essays (The Myth Of Sisyphus and Reflections On The Guillotine), this is a compendium which gives you a full scope of Camus’ excellence as a writer. It would make for a perfect beginner’s point, so I highly recommend it to anybody who has yet to read any of his work. I have long considered The Myth Of Sisyphus to be one of the most important philosophical texts ever written. Reflecti Consisting of two novellas (The Plague and The Fall), a collection of short stories (Exile And The Kingdom) and two essays (The Myth Of Sisyphus and Reflections On The Guillotine), this is a compendium which gives you a full scope of Camus’ excellence as a writer. It would make for a perfect beginner’s point, so I highly recommend it to anybody who has yet to read any of his work. I have long considered The Myth Of Sisyphus to be one of the most important philosophical texts ever written. Reflections is one of the most important texts against capital punishment. I shall review Sisyphus and Reflections in full one day.

  2. 4 out of 5

    The Lazy Reader

    Camus is the only writer who I continue to like, even when I may not always understand him. The Stranger was the first existential, absurd novel I ever read and the bizarre, alien feeling it sprouted me in me lingered and left me dazed for days. This collection is the same, if somehow more lyrical(and wordy), but stamped with Camus signature style of vagueness, strangeness and of something being not quite right. The Plague is the most concrete and traditionally stylized of them all, while The Fal Camus is the only writer who I continue to like, even when I may not always understand him. The Stranger was the first existential, absurd novel I ever read and the bizarre, alien feeling it sprouted me in me lingered and left me dazed for days. This collection is the same, if somehow more lyrical(and wordy), but stamped with Camus signature style of vagueness, strangeness and of something being not quite right. The Plague is the most concrete and traditionally stylized of them all, while The Fall is the most existential. The most profound work continues to be The Myth of Sisyphus, which is an immeasurable contribution to philosophy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marty

    I read The Plague, but I couldn't find that book listed on its own. It's a great book that had a profound effect on me in college. It was the first book I "had to read" in a literature class. I was so innocent, and this book opened my eyes to pain, suffering, death, tragedy... real life! I went on to be an English major. This book may have turned me in that direction. I read The Plague, but I couldn't find that book listed on its own. It's a great book that had a profound effect on me in college. It was the first book I "had to read" in a literature class. I was so innocent, and this book opened my eyes to pain, suffering, death, tragedy... real life! I went on to be an English major. This book may have turned me in that direction.

  4. 4 out of 5

    James Smith

    Camus' THE FALL continues to haunt. It is the ghost of Augustinianism--and is itself haunted by an Augustinian option. Camus' THE FALL continues to haunt. It is the ghost of Augustinianism--and is itself haunted by an Augustinian option.

  5. 4 out of 5

    muthuvel

    1. The Plague - ★★★★★ | completed by January 17, 2019 my review 2. The Fall - ★★★★★ | by May 14, 2018 my review 3. Exile and Kingdom - ★★★★ | by December 2, 2018 4. Reflections on the Guillotine -★★★★ | by May 6, 2018 my review 5. The Myth of Sisyphus - ★★★★★ | by October 12, 2017 my review 1. The Plague - ★★★★★ | completed by January 17, 2019 my review 2. The Fall - ★★★★★ | by May 14, 2018 my review 3. Exile and Kingdom - ★★★★ | by December 2, 2018 4. Reflections on the Guillotine -★★★★ | by May 6, 2018 my review 5. The Myth of Sisyphus - ★★★★★ | by October 12, 2017 my review

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jakub

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First and foremost, at the very least you should try to find a different translation of The Plague. This one, by Stuart Gilbert, is almost 70 years old but still has jarringly obvious errors (“his case continued doubtful”). I first tried reading The Plague maybe 15 years ago, and I now remember why I stopped. It starts strong, then really becomes a slog through the middle. However, I am happy to report that it ends strong as well. But even those are relative terms. I didn’t find anything terribl First and foremost, at the very least you should try to find a different translation of The Plague. This one, by Stuart Gilbert, is almost 70 years old but still has jarringly obvious errors (“his case continued doubtful”). I first tried reading The Plague maybe 15 years ago, and I now remember why I stopped. It starts strong, then really becomes a slog through the middle. However, I am happy to report that it ends strong as well. But even those are relative terms. I didn’t find anything terribly compelling in it, even now, having lived through a pandemic. The characters aren’t that interesting, the morality is either inscrutable (Tarrou’s speech about everything being pestilence or man?) or too on the nose (Rambert’s decision to volunteer with the ambulances rather than escape the town). Still, it’s not too long, and I’m glad I finally finished it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ayan Dutta

    Need to reread the Myth of Sysyphus again...here Camus discusses Husserl, Heidigger, Kafka and few other existentialist..so hard going ... The fall , my second reading , is an absolute gem ....

  8. 5 out of 5

    Arun Singh

    FEuuuuh!!! It took around 2 months to read it. Awesome read. The time has nothing to do with the quality of work. Every word is to be cherished in this book. Whether it's the world of The Plague or soliloquy of the advocate in The Fall or the intelligent voice behind the essay condemning guillotine or questioning the very method of existence, Albert Camus is so clear about what he is trying to find and how he is going to deliver it. Albert Camus' words are so clear and appear drenched in a light FEuuuuh!!! It took around 2 months to read it. Awesome read. The time has nothing to do with the quality of work. Every word is to be cherished in this book. Whether it's the world of The Plague or soliloquy of the advocate in The Fall or the intelligent voice behind the essay condemning guillotine or questioning the very method of existence, Albert Camus is so clear about what he is trying to find and how he is going to deliver it. Albert Camus' words are so clear and appear drenched in a light that doesn't let you get lost in the diverse jungle of philosophy. And the intensity of his thoughts- you can literally feel that intensity penetrating deep into your mind and changing gears of your perceiving and compelling you to see the world in a new light.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael Flick

    Thoughts of a noted thinker. His imagination of The Plague is consistent with its reality, as we are seeing with our current plague, Covid 19. The Myth of Sisyphus is the reality of the absurdity of life. Reflections on the Guillotine is convincing argument against administrative murder.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Viola

    Solidarity in the Time of a Virus Albert Camus' The Plague REVIEW by Fran Shor Fifth Estate # 407, Fall, 2020 As a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, there is renewed interest in Albert Camus’ 1947 novel, The Plague. While providing a fictional confrontation with a life-threatening infectious disease, the novel also reflects Camus’ perspectives on solidarity. Those expressions of solidarity convey meanings that have resonance for our present situation in relation to Covid-19. Camus explores fo Solidarity in the Time of a Virus Albert Camus' The Plague REVIEW by Fran Shor Fifth Estate # 407, Fall, 2020 As a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, there is renewed interest in Albert Camus’ 1947 novel, The Plague. While providing a fictional confrontation with a life-threatening infectious disease, the novel also reflects Camus’ perspectives on solidarity. Those expressions of solidarity convey meanings that have resonance for our present situation in relation to Covid-19. Camus explores forms of solidarity that for him exist along a continuum. The most basic form is rooted in our fundamental sense of interdependence and moral responsibility to the communities in which we reside. Beyond that form of social solidarity exists a civic solidarity demanding action in order to protect the most vulnerable from social ravages. Finally, political solidarity necessitates confronting the injustice and oppression that inhere in any system, insisting on collective action to overcome such systemic inequities. Camus fleshes out these forms of solidarity by exploring the points of view of three representative characters. Each of these fictional individuals, in turn, allows Camus to generate his reflections on the historical and political limitations of solidarity in his time and from his philosophical and political perspective. The Plague takes place in the port city of Oran in French colonial Algeria during an inexact year in the 1940s. Camus was born in Algeria and while still there in the late 1930s he began cooperating with anarchists. He left for France in 1940 just before the Nazi invasion. During the war and the Vichy collaborationist government, he joined the Resistance, cooperating with many anarchists, including Spanish and French anarcho-syndicalists. It is against this backdrop of actual pestilence, war, and resistance that Camus crafts the novel. In The Plague, the residents of Oran must contend with the literal and figurative repercussions of the disease. As it spreads throughout the city, it claims an increasing number of lives and leads to ever more stringent quarantine measures. The “disease, which apparently had forced on us the solidarity of a beleaguered town,” observes the narrator, “disrupted at the same time long-established communities and sent men out to live, as individuals, in relative isolation.” Describing this isolation as an “exile” and “prison-house,” the majority of residents settled into “a sort of passive and provisional acquiescence.” Yet, unlike the instructions to shelter-in-place ordered in 2020 in most cities and states in this country and around the world, there is little effort in The Plague to effectuate a more inclusive regimen of physical distancing. Indeed, cafes remain open in Oran even as the city is in lockdown and although those with the disease are quarantined. From Camus’s perspective, it is the spiritual isolation, “under the vast indifference of the sky” that militates against all forms of more active solidarity, whether social, civic, or political. Refusing social and spiritual isolation, three of the key characters in The Plague actively engage with the moral responsibility embedded in all forms of solidarity. In some ways, the journalist Rambert, trapped in Oran through a quirk of circumstance, represents the fundamental challenge of enacting social solidarity. At first, Rambert seeks out a means of escape, convincing himself that his own happiness is paramount. However, he comes to the realization that, in his words, “it may be shameful to be happy by oneself.” Recognizing that “this business is everybody’s business,” Rambert moves from social solidarity to civic solidarity, joining with two other characters, Dr. Bernard Rieux and Jean Tarrou, as a member of the sanitary squads. The sanitary squads, created and sustained by Dr. Rieux and Tarrou, represent the essence of civic solidarity. As portrayed in the novel, the sanitary squads are engaged in a struggle “to save the greatest possible number of persons from dying and being doomed to unending separation.” Acting on this logic, Dr. Rieux ministers untiringly to those suffering from the plague. Working against constant death with little relief in sight, Dr. Rieux comes closest of all the characters to Camus’ use of the tragic figure of Sisyphus, punished by the Greek gods with forever rolling a boulder up a hill to only have it repeatedly roll down again. Dr. Rieux answers Tarrou’s question about “never lasting victories,” with the Sisyphean fact the there’s “no reason for giving up the struggle.” The character of Tarrou initiates these groups out of a sense of civic solidarity and a long-standing commitment to challenging death sentences, whether imposed by infectious diseases or the institutional machinery of the state. In the past Tarrou explains, he became a political “agitator,” fighting against what he saw as a “social order…based on the death sentence.” At this point, the political subtext intrudes when Tarrou admits that the organization he joined also “passed sentences of death. But I was told that these few deaths were inevitable for the building up of a new world in which murder would cease to be.” Here, Camus is referring to his own brief involvement with the Communist Party in Algeria during the mid-1930s and the brutal Stalinist policies that resulted in massive state-sponsored murder in the Soviet Union. Rejecting Communist politics, Camus turned to exploring anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist ideas. In the process, he developed respect and sympathy for anarchists who refused to compromise with contending authoritarian powers. In keeping with Camus’ political trajectory, Tarrou offers his own self-criticism of this Stalinist legacy: “I learned that I had an indirect hand in the deaths of thousands of people; that I’d even brought about their deaths by approving acts and principles which could only end that way.” This disillusionment articulated by Tarrou in The Plague not only targets the Communist Party, but any political organization or ideal that refuses to realize its own complicity with the machinery of death. Hence, Tarrou suspects any party that promises political solidarity and salvation while committing murder in its self-appointed role as the redeemer of History. In addition, by representing Camus’ own guiding moral precept of “neither victim nor executioner,” Tarrou acknowledges “that each of us has the plague within him; no one on earth is free from it.” With his sober assessment that he will “leave it to others to make history,” Tarrou also commits “not to join forces with pestilences.” While Tarrou will “fight for the victims,” enacting a central tenet of civic solidarity, he also embraces collective action against the injustice of historically grounded pestilences. Although Tarrou succumbs to the plague, Dr. Rieux lives on. He survives, but as the narrator of the novel, he warns his readers “that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good.” Therefore, there could be no final victory “in the never ending fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts.” Nonetheless, in striving “to be healers,” individuals can enact civic solidarity that provides a temporary relief for all those victimized by the plague. By joining together with others, Rambert, Tarrou, and Dr. Rieux did their utmost to become “healers.” Thus, Camus can acknowledge with Dr. Rieux “what we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.” Against the backdrop of the defeat of fascism, Camus reminds his readers that moral responsibility needs to be ever vigilant against the pestilence of social systems that would sacrifice humans at the altar of false gods, whether religious or political. In turn, his experiences during the Resistance led him to explore anarchistic perspectives for overcoming individual despair, and for encouraging resistance and solidarity. The questions he raised are particularly relevant to anarchists today because of the urgency of learning how to avoid ending up strengthening hierarchical dominance and exploitation. On the other hand, in our intense globalized world biological pestilences have an even more compelling reality, far beyond Camus’ imagination in The Plague. The proliferation of pandemics has now become the “new normal.” With increasing destruction of animal habitats, the rise and expansion of factory farming, globalized supply chains, and climate change we face potential propagation of more lethal trans-species viruses. Already demagogues in various countries are using these pandemics to scapegoat whole populations and societies as a cover for their own unjust politics and aggrandizement. Given the biopolitics of the moment, what can we, as individuals and as participants in cooperative and cooperating groups, do to promote any of the forms of solidarity delineated by Camus? The persistence of poverty, ethnic/ racial injustice, and class exploitation, especially in the United States, militate against mitigating the impact of diseases like Covid-19, let alone generating forms of civic solidarity to address these vulnerabilities. Indeed, we have a moral responsibility to engage with others to protect the victims and to challenge injustice and oppression wherever it appears. As Camus would say, we have no other option but to seek and practice solidarity in whatever form possible. Fran Shor, Emeritus Professor of History at Wayne State University, is the author of four books, including Weaponized Whiteness: The Constructions and Deconstructions of White Identity Politics (Haymarket). The novel, Passages of Rebellion, will appear this Fall. FifthEstate

  11. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    This is why I don't like riding in cars. This is why I don't like riding in cars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cal Davie

    Absolutely bloody brilliant. Camus has a complex depth to his writings, and allows us to explore an array of ethical, political and metaphysical issues through his fiction and essays. The Plague is multi-layered and will have your mind asking the most profound philosophical questions repeatedly. It is a particularly relevant read for us who have had to live through this pandemic. The Myth of Sisyphus of course is a master-class in the absurdist perspective, and again has so much depth to it that is Absolutely bloody brilliant. Camus has a complex depth to his writings, and allows us to explore an array of ethical, political and metaphysical issues through his fiction and essays. The Plague is multi-layered and will have your mind asking the most profound philosophical questions repeatedly. It is a particularly relevant read for us who have had to live through this pandemic. The Myth of Sisyphus of course is a master-class in the absurdist perspective, and again has so much depth to it that is worth multiple readings. I consider myself happy to have read it. I was most surprised by Reflections on the Guillotine. The arguments against capital punishment were so ethically rich that they can most definitely be applied to other areas of our modern day understanding of justice. A wonderful collection, and the five works in the book will no doubt be an invaluable resource to philosophical exploration.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Yang

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Great collection of works by Camus (I'd say it has most of the important ones except for the Outsider). It is interesting reading his stories in light of his absurdist philosophy (included as the myth of Sisyphus). I will need to reread that essay carefully because it is very dense. The main idea that struck me most was he proposes living in the state of tension between man and the (meaningless) universe, instead of trying to escape this state e.g. by recourse to God, or suicide. The mid century Great collection of works by Camus (I'd say it has most of the important ones except for the Outsider). It is interesting reading his stories in light of his absurdist philosophy (included as the myth of Sisyphus). I will need to reread that essay carefully because it is very dense. The main idea that struck me most was he proposes living in the state of tension between man and the (meaningless) universe, instead of trying to escape this state e.g. by recourse to God, or suicide. The mid century appears to be that transition point from religious to non-religious, with the attendant problems that this generation of philosophers try to resolve. The absurdist (& existential philosophy) being one answer. Also, interesting how he argues against the death penalty from that perspective too. Whereby instead of mortal justice, the death penalty is seen as a practical means of maintaining order in society but places justice in the hands of God.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Schmidt

    Good existential novels and essays. The Fall is my favorite, but The Plague is good as well. His essays are hard to understand, but interesting. I don't agree with his stance against the death penalty explained in 'Reflections on the Guillotine.' But I loved The Myth of Sisyphus, even though it was very short. His shorter novels and essays are, to me, his best, such as The Stranger (sometimes called The Outsider) and The Fall. I can't even remember what his short stories were about; I guess that Good existential novels and essays. The Fall is my favorite, but The Plague is good as well. His essays are hard to understand, but interesting. I don't agree with his stance against the death penalty explained in 'Reflections on the Guillotine.' But I loved The Myth of Sisyphus, even though it was very short. His shorter novels and essays are, to me, his best, such as The Stranger (sometimes called The Outsider) and The Fall. I can't even remember what his short stories were about; I guess that explains that part of this collection (Exile and the Kingdom). Overall a good collection for those that love existential novels. I would say The Plague, The Fall and The Myth of Sisyphus are worth it. I didn't really care for the rest of the collection, but I finished it anyway.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michal

    The Plague: Boring, speckled with inconsequential sequences, unrealistic and just runs into sand at the end. Excellent as a intellectually-looking inventory for your bedside table that lasts a very long time. The Fall: Interesting stylistically and intellectually from start as a dialogue reduced to a first person monologue, but eventually it just goes on rambling until you loose all capacity to pay attention. I am done with Camus.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Hosford

    I read The Outsider translated by Sandra Smith in 2012. It’s a very short story but is packed with an interesting tale about a man who is supposedly different from other people because he doesn’t think or feel like others. He commits a crime and the jury is out to condemn him almost more for his difference than for the crime. It questions his religious beliefs as he nears his day of reckoning. I found the story thought provoking.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Randall DeVallance

    If you've never read anything by Camus before, this book is a great place to start. Includes two novels, six short stories, and two essays, which might be my favorite part of all. 'The Myth of Sisyphus' is the foundational text of "absurdism", and explores the question of whether suicide is the only logical response to an unfeeling universe, while 'Reflections on the Guillotine' argues persuasively for the abolition of the death penalty. If you've never read anything by Camus before, this book is a great place to start. Includes two novels, six short stories, and two essays, which might be my favorite part of all. 'The Myth of Sisyphus' is the foundational text of "absurdism", and explores the question of whether suicide is the only logical response to an unfeeling universe, while 'Reflections on the Guillotine' argues persuasively for the abolition of the death penalty.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    My High School English teacher had "The Plague" on his list of suggested reads ... of course (me being a disinterested 15 year-old), I didn't read it. If I could time travel back to 1964-5, I would hope that I would have the presence of mind to thank Mr. Coughlin, for introducing me to the world of 20th century literature. My High School English teacher had "The Plague" on his list of suggested reads ... of course (me being a disinterested 15 year-old), I didn't read it. If I could time travel back to 1964-5, I would hope that I would have the presence of mind to thank Mr. Coughlin, for introducing me to the world of 20th century literature.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Prem Sylvester

    I feel like I've lived several lives in this deep dive into Camus' oeuvre, and I am better for it. I don't think I agree with all of his philosophies, but the depth of his thought, the oceans of contemplation he can write into a sentence, is amazing. So much to think about I feel like I've lived several lives in this deep dive into Camus' oeuvre, and I am better for it. I don't think I agree with all of his philosophies, but the depth of his thought, the oceans of contemplation he can write into a sentence, is amazing. So much to think about

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lou Fillari

    I had high expectations. So, my bad.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Adam Kanter

    The Plague 4/5 The Fall 5/5 Exile and the Kingdom 4/5 Myth of Sisyphus 4.5/5 Reflections on the Guillotine 5/5 Camus is amazing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Derrick Jeter

    I reread The Plague from this volume—provocative, insightful, and a masterpiece. The other works in this volume, both Camus's fiction and non-fiction, are just as good. Well worthy your time. I reread The Plague from this volume—provocative, insightful, and a masterpiece. The other works in this volume, both Camus's fiction and non-fiction, are just as good. Well worthy your time.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    Yes, I read this to fit into the 2020 mindset, and interestingly despite my love of Camus had not read The Plague previously. This probably will be a repeat read every year as a result.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Broadsnark

    It is always difficult to review a book of collected works and this one is more difficult than most. I loved The Plague and would give it four stars for sure. But a couple of the stories in here were extremely problematic (Camus was not known for being an anti-racist, feminist.) Some of it was just rather boring. That said, reading The Plague was exactly the kind of dark meditation on life that I needed right now. Yes. We are all on a losing battle with death. There is often not much we as indiv It is always difficult to review a book of collected works and this one is more difficult than most. I loved The Plague and would give it four stars for sure. But a couple of the stories in here were extremely problematic (Camus was not known for being an anti-racist, feminist.) Some of it was just rather boring. That said, reading The Plague was exactly the kind of dark meditation on life that I needed right now. Yes. We are all on a losing battle with death. There is often not much we as individuals can do about the worst that happens - war, disease, sociopaths. But we can struggle and fight and find joy and commiserate with all the other poor fools in this same mess that we are in.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Titus Manoj Kumar

    In short, The Plague can be defined as a fictional version of the Myth of Sisyphus.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Raymond Thomas

    I'm at a bit of loss on how to discuss Camus, but I shall address his stories in the order that they appear. There are many parts of The Plague that hold great promise for an interesting novel and even an interesting reflection on the philosophies and nature of man, however a lot of it gets lost in the pages upon pages of philosophical discourse that break up the actual characterizations and plot. I still enjoyed the story but there were moments where it just got bogged down attempting to explai I'm at a bit of loss on how to discuss Camus, but I shall address his stories in the order that they appear. There are many parts of The Plague that hold great promise for an interesting novel and even an interesting reflection on the philosophies and nature of man, however a lot of it gets lost in the pages upon pages of philosophical discourse that break up the actual characterizations and plot. I still enjoyed the story but there were moments where it just got bogged down attempting to explain the philosophical to me rather than letting me experience it fully through the characters and plot of the book. Similarly there is an interesting concept in The Fall, but again it often seems to get bogged down in itself, seeming going on for pages without introducing new concepts or advancing the plot. I think ultimately this is one of Camus' weaker works. It strikes me as another example of why philosophers rarely make for good authors or novelists. It's often needlessly unclear and over repetitive. Exile and The Kingdom is a wonderful collection of extremely readable short stories. Some of them are a bit hard to decipher in totality, but the message doesn't get lost in the shorter stories like it does in The Fall. Similar to my feelings on Hemingway, I think the short stories are really the best work of Camus. The essays on Absurdism are quite interesting, though honestly the only parts I truly enjoyed and didn't find to be trying were the ones where Camus explains the absurd by reviewing the works of Dostoevsky and Kafka. Using literary classics as a way to explain his concepts was a good choice and really helped with overall understanding of Camus' beliefs. Finally, Reflections on the Guillotine was probably the highlight of this collection, for me anyway. Camus leaves the heavy and trying language of philosophy to present an argument against capital punishment that appeals to reason and logic rather than a confusing collection of philosophical beliefs.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Ciarvella

    It's hard to know what to say about a writer like Camus. I've enjoyed his writing since reading "the Stranger" back in high school. Although "the Plague" is regarded as one of his finest works, I actually ended up enjoying "the Fall" the most. "The Exile and the Kingdom" were also very enjoyable. There are two essays included in this collection: "the Myth of Sisyphus," which I've read before and "Reflection on the Guillotine." The latter is an especially poignant read with regards to capital puni It's hard to know what to say about a writer like Camus. I've enjoyed his writing since reading "the Stranger" back in high school. Although "the Plague" is regarded as one of his finest works, I actually ended up enjoying "the Fall" the most. "The Exile and the Kingdom" were also very enjoyable. There are two essays included in this collection: "the Myth of Sisyphus," which I've read before and "Reflection on the Guillotine." The latter is an especially poignant read with regards to capital punishment in the United States and the botched execution of an inmate several weeks ago. In my opinion, Sisyphus is the best work to read when trying to explain existentialism to someone. Even though Camus himself would disagree with this assessment, his account of Sisyphus's eternal task and the worthiness of that struggle is what helped me really understand existentialism. Although this wasn't an easy collection to read through (it took me a couple of months to finish everything), I feel enriched from the experience. If you're like me and you try to balance your literary diet and you're interested in existential writing, consider adding this one to your list.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brixton

    Feb 2011: "The Myth of Sisyphus", 2 of 5. The absurdity of living and the logical necessity of suicide-- should be right up my ally, but I just couldn't get into this. One thing I did feel throughout was that the writing was very clunky and awkward; I'm inclined to point my finger at the translator, but since I cannot go to the original, and I (perhaps without foundation) assume Everyman's is using the translation de rigueur, it might just be clunky and awkward. Whenever my understanding started Feb 2011: "The Myth of Sisyphus", 2 of 5. The absurdity of living and the logical necessity of suicide-- should be right up my ally, but I just couldn't get into this. One thing I did feel throughout was that the writing was very clunky and awkward; I'm inclined to point my finger at the translator, but since I cannot go to the original, and I (perhaps without foundation) assume Everyman's is using the translation de rigueur, it might just be clunky and awkward. Whenever my understanding started gaining some momentum, the direction of this essay would just roll right back down to the beginning, and it was always a struggle to get going again. Maybe Camus was just pulling a funny one on stubborn readers like me. Dec 2009: The Plague , 3.5 of 5. Fun to read in these days of 11-step handwashing posters in public restrooms and other attempts to inflate public obsession/paranoia of colds and flus.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Xio

    I wanted to write a long note about how, once I'd finished rereading The Plague, it dawned on me that *this* story had played a giant role in forming my character. And to realize something like that is a bit profound. Perhaps it was due to the veil of fever I was reading through but I had to lie still awhile and cast myself back to the initial encounter and recall the kid I had been... That ferociously vigilant and angry kid appalled by the world of the 80's...sigh. Wanting, as Rimbaud wrote, (i I wanted to write a long note about how, once I'd finished rereading The Plague, it dawned on me that *this* story had played a giant role in forming my character. And to realize something like that is a bit profound. Perhaps it was due to the veil of fever I was reading through but I had to lie still awhile and cast myself back to the initial encounter and recall the kid I had been... That ferociously vigilant and angry kid appalled by the world of the 80's...sigh. Wanting, as Rimbaud wrote, (in which poem was it? "The Blacksmith'): "Nous nous sentions si forts, nous voulions être doux ! " right-o.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Smiley

    In this hardcover, I finished reading "The Plague" in another paperback edition, "The Fall" in 2006 and "The Myth of Sisyphus" some years ago. Last week I decided to read "Exile and the Kingdom", however, I was not sure I could make it since it "consists of short stories which explore the existentialist predicament from various viewpoints" (front flap). Unfortunately, I know vaguely on existentialism, therefore, its definition in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary should be quoted for understa In this hardcover, I finished reading "The Plague" in another paperback edition, "The Fall" in 2006 and "The Myth of Sisyphus" some years ago. Last week I decided to read "Exile and the Kingdom", however, I was not sure I could make it since it "consists of short stories which explore the existentialist predicament from various viewpoints" (front flap). Unfortunately, I know vaguely on existentialism, therefore, its definition in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary should be quoted for understanding and further narration: “(philosophy) the theory that humans are free and responsible for their own actions in a world without meaning” (Turnbull, et al. 2010, p. 531).

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