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Lyrical and Critical Essays Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 1970
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"The literary output of Albert Camus was exceptionally concentrated and well organized, so that each part of it throws light on the other parts.... Here now, for the first time in a complete English translation, we have Camus' three little volumes of essays, plus a selection of his critical comments on literature and on his own place in it. As might be expected, the main interest of these writings is that they illuminate new facets of his usual subject matter."
-- John Weightman, The New York Times Book Review
"The work of Albert Camus began to achieve international recognition after World War II, and from then until his death in 1960 no author was a greater articulator of the general reevaluation of human action that took place in the best literature of this period... because those works are so intense, so occupied with the themes of a civilization, it is good to have small, sometimes rough pieces which show a great writer close to the stuff of experience he would later refine and set into parables for an age. For it was his ability to stay near the plain, uncelebrated habits of life that gave Camus' art its peculiar strength and his thought its hard humanity."
-- Jack Richardson, Book World
"Some of the pieces have been translated individually before, but several of the best have not, and the complete sequence forms what is in effect a new, single work for American readers that stands among his very finest."
-- Donald Lazere, The Nation
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Top Customer Reviews
It's quotes like the one above and "Knowing that certain nights whose sweetness lingers will keep returning to the earth and sea after we are gone, yes, this helps us die." that make this collection of essays Camus' best work.
The Stranger is, indeed, a unique contribution to post-WWII literature. But these essays are unique as well as powerful and beautiful. My bet is that, a century from now, these essays will be remembered long after the "existentialist" vogue has long faded, as Camus' best work.
My apologies to those who worship terse, arid prose. It has its place. But it's not the stuff of truly great literature. The lyrical essays contained herein are.
feel the emotions and spirits permeates from the pages.
This book contains a lot of thoughts that are suprisingly
simple, yet manage to escape us in the course of everyday
life. It is about memories, places, faces and emotions of
an ordinary human being with an extraordinary talent for
" ... there is more love in these awkward pages than in all
those that have followed." (Albert Camus, Preface 1958)
He wrote in the Preface to this 1958 collection of essays, “The essays collected in this volume were written in 1935 and 1936 (I was then twenty-two) and published a year later in Algeria in a very limited edition. This edition has been unobtainable for a long time and I have always refused to have [the essay] ‘The Wrong Side and the Right Side’ reprinted. There are no mysterious reasons for my stubbornness. I reject nothing of what these writings express, but their form has always seemed clumsy to me. The prejudices on art I cherish in spite of myself … kept me for a long time from considering their republication… I can confess that for me this little book has considerable value as testimony. I say for me, since it is to me that it demands a fidelity whose depth and difficulties I alone can know.Read more ›
The lyrical essays are stories and musings. What I found makes these lyrical essays beautiful is not the language itself (for this, I think no one beats Thoreau) but the ideas and descriptions expressed in the unfolding of the stories or central themes.
The critical essays are essentially Camus's thoughts on culture, philospohy, and other literature (e.g. Faulkner and Melville). Camus's commentary on himself is also very interesting, for I think that these essays are the most telling of Camus's views not just of himself and his writing, but of his views on society at the time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These are beautiful, poetic essays from a very young (23 year old) Camus.Published 6 months ago by nancyOR
Camus' prose in his lyrical essays is marvelously sensuous, capturing the light, beauty, and meaning he finds in the world.Published on January 30, 2014 by John Ross
This is a good book to read to receive more insight into Camus' lighter and more romantic visions of his youth and his thoughts in general. Read morePublished on December 17, 2013 by Gypsy Samuels
This book contains some of Camus' very early writings, along with interviews of him. This is well worth the price for anyone interested in Camus' early life and his love of the... Read morePublished on October 26, 2013 by Robert T. Crandall
After many years past my first love affair with books by Albert Camus, a college prof at U. of Montana recommended this collection. How wonderful. Read morePublished on July 19, 2013 by Lee C. Browne