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Lyrical and Critical Essays Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 1970

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Lyrical And Critical Essays

"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

From the Back Cover

Lyrical And Critical Essays

"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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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (September 12, 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394708520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394708522
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Myers VINE VOICE on November 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"There is no love of life without despair of life."-These words haunted me when I first read this book nearly ten years ago. I then lent it out, never to be returned. (Ahem, I've become very cautious about lending books out since then.) Anyway, I just recently repurchased this book and reread it, and I still (unlike Camus' himself) regard the LYRICAL essays herein as much more beautiful, powerful and significant than the much touted The Stranger (which I, however, like as well, only on another level.)
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.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Here is a compilation of the essays that Camus wrote during the entire span of his career.It is branched into 2 categories,& a final chapter dealing more personally with outlooks on life & his works.The lyrical section describes in vivid detail the places that have moved & altered his life profoundly,eloquently relating how & why.It is one of the great literary what-if's if Camus would have done poetry in verse form;judging from the fine,thin & nimble prose that impressively illustrates the simultaneous cause & effect union bet. the man & his nature,he could have been a very good lyric poet,if not a great one.The Critical essays are honest & insightful measurements on the correlation bet. the work that he deals with & it's relevance to life & art.The final section,"Camus On Himself",offer some verifiable insights into the man & his personality.This book could serve as a very impt. introduction or supplement to Camus's entire canon;one could feel very refreshed & informed after reading it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 12, 1996
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The language of the book are so well written that you can
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
life.

" ... there is more love in these awkward pages than in all
those that have followed." (Albert Camus, Preface 1958)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Econ Student on November 30, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is divided into three sections: Lyrical Essays, Critical Essays, and Camus's Self-Commentary.

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dionysian GENERATOR on November 1, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
He is easily one of the most lucid, sensitive, and talented writers of the 20th century and these essays show a young, energetic Camus showcasing his amazing ability to connect with the reader and with the world around him. On a personal level, Camus has been my biggest influence and of all the books I own, this is by far my most loved.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
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. He is as new and fresh as he was in those bygone days. Thank you.
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By Robert T. Crandall on October 26, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
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 theatre.
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