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Notebooks 1951-1959 Hardcover


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Notebooks 1951-1959 + Notebooks, 1942-1951 (Volume 2) + Notebooks, 1935-1942 (Volume 1)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (April 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566637759
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566637756
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 3.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #818,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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)
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Review

From the moment that I am no longer more than a writer, I shall cease to write.' Camus declared this credo for himself in Carnete 1942-51. It is valid for all of us who write and is as passionately evident in this later collection of his notebooks written until the year of his death. He was a great writer, one of the few of his time, and is for all time; true to his convictions, more than a writer, a man who took on human responsibility in individual action for justice. (Nadine Gordimer )

This is the intimate record—the only one we have—of the final years of Albert Camus. Years that should have been glorious, leading up to and including his Nobel Prize. But for Camus they were the saddest years. He had lost the ideological battle to his arch-enemy Jean-Paul Sartre, or at least he was meant to feel that he had. He was genuinely ill, acknowledging defeat from illness of a lifetime. Death—his own—is a leitmotiv running through this journal. He would of course die soon after writing these final pages. He died not because of his lungs but when a friend drove their automobile into a tree. Camus would have enjoyed the irony of this, for irony was another of his leitmotivs. Now we can be grateful that Camus put so much of his existence into his notebooks, grateful to his family for allowing them to be published, and to his publishers for giving them to us. (Herbert Lottman )

Ryan Bloom has superbly contextualized his highly readable translation of Camus's last working notebooks. His translator's note, a model of its kind, explains why he lets Camus's French echo through the English. (Marilyn Gaddis-Rose )

Notebooks is a fascinating look into the mind of a man who influenced an entire generation, and a bit of nostalgia for when writers were important participants in the international dialogue on good government. (ForeWord Reviews )

Smoothly translated...diaristic, expansive and self revealing...Reinforce[s] Camus' stubborn determination to lead a meaningful life in an indifferent universe. (Publishers Weekly )

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. (Library Journal )

Anyone interested in the works of Camus will benefit from this work. (Metapsychology Online Reviews )

From his travels to his observations about life and politics, this concludes a fine expose of Camus' life and thoughts and is a must... (Midwest Book Review )

One of the pleasures of this edition of Albert Camus's late-life notebooks is in skipping around: Certainly, they can read straight through, but the compact philosophical aphorisms sprinkled among the longer passages—which include fascinating drafts of letters to friends—encourage a hopscotcher's approach. (New York Magazine )

Notebooks 1951–1959 comes to us raw... it offers an unmediated look at the author's mind in the final years of a productive but tormented life... this volume is a valuable guide to understanding the author. (San Antonio Current )

[A] fascinating glimpse into a mind tormented by bitterness and dissatisfaction... Anglophone readers can finally appreciate Camus' full scope as man and author. (CHOICE )

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
College-level collections strong on Camus will find this a special acquisition presenting the notebooks withheld in France for some 29 years after his death, appearing for the first time in English. The first two volumes of his notebooks began simply but this concluding volume was written over the last nine years that he lived, and reads more intimately, like a diary. From his travels to his observations about life and politics, this concludes a fine expose of Camus' life and thoughts and is a 'must' for any college-level collection strong in Camus, particularly those who have his previous earlier notebooks.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marcel Louis on November 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In his notebooks, Albert Camus is truthful, intelligent, articulate, and absolutely never dull. He was the rarest of beings, especially for a man; within Camus, mind-truths and body-truths remained wedded all his days, and nights. Including the contradictions--those are married, too. The guy is irresistible. This volume of his carnets is as delicious as the ones that came before. No matter what your mood--happy, sad, bored (which is probably the same as sad)--the jottings and drafts of Camus' pulsings and articulations will take you where you are, lift and turn you, will change your life.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on March 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
These journal entries are far more cursory and selective and the beautiful journals of Gide or Kafka, but there are still glimpses into Camus' creative process and literary interests which often go unnoticed by biographers. He was surprisingly preoccupied with Don Juan and the work of Pasternak, and his explicit anti-communism comes through here repeatedly. There are numerous rough passages which would later be reworked into 'The Fall,' as well as 'Exile and the Kingdom,' but for the most part these fragments are a bit cryptic and uninteresting.
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