- Series: Modern Library College Editions
- Paperback: 278 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (February 1, 1965)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0075536498
- ISBN-13: 978-0075536499
- Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.5 x 7.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (345 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Plague 1st Edition
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A parable of the highest order, The Plague tells the story of a terrible disease that descends upon Oran, Algiers, in a year unknown. After rats crawl from the sewer to die in the streets, people soon begin perishing from terrible afflictions. How the main characters in the book--a journalist, a doctor and a priest--face humanity in the wake of the plague presents one of the book's many lessons. The book deserves to be read on several levels, because the pandemic in The Plague represents any of a number of worldwide catastrophes--both past and future--and the difficult choices everyone must make to survive them. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The message is not the highest form of creative art, but it may be of such importance for our time that to dismiss it in the name of artistic criticism would be to blaspheme against the human spirit. -- The New York Times Book Review, Stephen Spender --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Finished The Plague yesterday evening. It had as powerful an effect on me today as when I first read it. Perhaps more so. Now it resonates with me, echoing off decades of experience. It is a parable of human life, that is, the sensation of moving -- sometimes forward, sometimes back, oft times in place, treading water -- somewhere between the poles of plague and peace, destined to fail at being alive, yet finding sustenance in irrational hope, human love, a stubborn refusal to quit, and the knowledge that we share this struggle with others. It remains on my top five books.
if you're looking for a doomsday book, don't expect this one to fit your bill of fare. this is more about the struggle to remain human and compassionate in extraordinary circumstances over which they have no control. it's about the government's sometimes draconian and sometimes illogical reaction to the situation and the narrator's very clinical observations of both the big and small pictures, snapshots if you will, of various personalities and the evolution of their thought processes. those thought processes are demonstrated rather than dissected. it is this approach to the story that proves Camus' genius. Sadly, we lost him too soon but happily we have his writings. you will find aspects of yourself in the book and you will definitely and hopefully honestly, relate to every character.
As with a great deal of French Literature, The Plague is heavily influenced by ideology and a not too subtle French Existentialism. The reason this is not helpful is that ideology [where it takes over character and incident] dates a work very quickly.
Readers return to works such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Homeric Epics, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Twain, Melville, Joyce, Rabelais, and Cervantes because there is something terribly human and universal about all of these without being preachy.
Camus seems to be lecturing his readers on most occasions. If you are drawn to his ethical sensibility/ideology then you will enjoy this, but if you spot, sense, holes in the thesis the work is less attractive.
There are better books to read by the author: The Stranger, The Rebel, The Fall come to mind.
This is still a good book, but not as good as the other plague narratives I have mentioned above.
I've given the book 4 stars because it still deserves this, but how much longer this will be the case I cannot say. Daniel Dafoe's Journal of the Plague Year remains the better book and The Plague was heavily influenced by this.
Still, worth a read.
When Camus explores his ideas by actually showing us how the characters interact with each other, the book is quite compelling. However, there are long stretches when he sidelines into descriptions of the townspeople's behavior in general that amount to thinly veiled philosophical diatribes--which are not bad in themselves, but didactic philosophy is not fiction, and it's quite lazy for Camus to set out with the premise of dramatizing his philosophy, then to sidetrack into merely talking about it.
Overall, though, the book is a great read, the ideas are thought-provoking, and the characters--when we get to spend time with them--are very compelling. Not perfect, but a book everyone should read.
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