A story for our, and all, times' Guardian Set in a town consumed by a deadly virus, The Plague is Albert Camus's world-renowned fable of fear and courageThe townspeople of Oran are in the grip of a deadly plague, which condemns its victims to a swift and horrifying death. Fear, isolation and claustrophobia follow as they are forced into quarantine. Each person responds in their own way to the lethal disease: some resign themselves to fate, some seek blame, and a few, like Dr Rieux, resist the terror. An immediate triumph when it was published in 1947, The Plague is in part an allegory of France's suffering under the Nazi occupation, and a story of bravery and determination against the precariousness of human existence. 'A matchless fable of fear, courage and cowardice' Independent'Magnificent' The Times
A philosophical novel described by fellow existentialist Sartre as 'perhaps the most beautiful and the least understood' of his novels, Albert Camus' The Fall is translated by Robin Buss in Penguin Modern Classics.Jean-Baptiste Clamence is a soul in turmoil. Over several drunken nights in an Amsterdam bar, he regales a chance acquaintance with his story. From this successful former lawyer and seemingly model citizen a compelling, self-loathing catalogue of guilt, hypocrisy and alienation pours forth. The Fall (1956) is a brilliant portrayal of a man who has glimpsed the hollowness of his existence. But beyond depicting one man's disillusionment, Camus's novel exposes the universal human condition and its absurdities - for our innocence that, once lost, can never be recaptured ...Albert Camus (1913-60) is the author of a number of best-selling and highly influential works, all of which are published by Penguin. They include The Fall, The Outsider and The First Man. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, Camus is remembered as one of the few writers to have shaped the intellectual climate of post-war France, but beyond that, his fame has been international.If you enjoyed The Fall, you might like Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.'An irresistibly brilliant examination of modern conscience'
The New York Times'Camus is the accused, his own prosecutor and advocate. The Fall might have been called "The Last Judgement" '
The Rebel is Camus's 'attempt to understand the time I live in' and a brilliant essay on the nature of human revolt. Published in 1951, it makes a daring critique of communism - how it had gone wrong behind the Iron Curtain and the resulting totalitarian regimes. It questions two events held sacred by the left wing - the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917 - that had resulted, he believed, in terrorism as a political instrument.In this towering intellectual document, Camus argues that hope for the future lies in revolt, which unlike revolution is a spontaneous response to injustice and a chance to achieve change without giving up collective and intellectual freedom.
The stories of Exile and the Kingdom explore the dilemma of being an outsider - even in one's own country - and of allegiance. With intense power and lyricism, Camus evokes beautiful but harsh landscapes, whether the shimmering deserts of his native Algeria or the wild, mysterious jungles of Brazil.Here a Frenchwoman is gradually seduced by the sheer difference of North Africa, a mutilated renegade is driven mad by the cruelty of his own people, and a barrel-maker watches the slow decline of his craft. A kindly teacher must choose between the law and a life, while a modest painter is out of his depth in the hypocrisy of the art world, and a French engineer discovers a new sense of belonging in a distant land.
Is it possible to die a happy death? This is the central question of Camus's astonishing early novel, published posthumously and greeted as a major literary event. It tells the story of a young Algerian, Mersault, who defies society's rules by committing a murder and escaping punishment, then experimenting with different ways of life and finally dying a happy man. In many ways A Happy Death is a fascinating first sketch for The Outsider, but it can also be seen as a candid self-portrait, drawing on Camus's memories of his youth, travels and early relationships. It is infused with lyrical descriptions of the sun-drenched Algiers of his childhood - the place where, eventually, Mersault is able to find peace and die 'without anger, without hatred, without regret'.
The unfinished manuscript of The First Man was discovered in the wreckage of car accident in which Camus died in 1960. Although it was not published for over thirty years, it was an instant bestseller when it finally appeared in 1994. The 'first man' is Jacques Cormery, whose poverty-stricken childhood in Algiers is made bearable by his love for his silent and illiterate mother, and by the teacher who transforms his view of the world. The most autobiographical of Camus's novels, it gives profound insights into his life and the powerful themes underlying his work.
In this profound and moving philosophical statement, Camus poses the fundamental question: Is life worth living? If human existence holds no significance, what can keep us from suicide?As Camus argues, if there is no God to give meaning to our lives, humans must take on that purpose themselves. This is our 'absurd' task, like Sisyphus forever rolling his rock up a hill, as the inevitability of death constantly overshadows us. Written during the bleakest days of the Second World War, The Myth of Sisyphus argues for an acceptance of reality that encompasses revolt, passion and, above all, liberty.
This volume contains several other essays, including lyrical evocations of the sunlit cities of Algiers and Oran, the settings of his great novels The Outsider and The Plague.Albert Camus is the author of a number of best-selling and highly influential works, all of which are published by Penguin. They include The Fall, The Outsider and The First Man. He is remembered as one of the few writers to have shaped the intellectual climate of post-war France, but beyond that, his fame has been international.Translated by Justin O'Brien
With an Introduction by James Wood
Meursault leads an apparently unremarkable bachelor life in Algiers until he commits a random act of violence. His lack of emotion and failure to show remorse only serve to increase his guilt in the eyes of the law, and challenges the fundamental values of society - a set of rules so binding that any person breaking them is condemned as an outsider. For Meursault, this is an insult to his reason and a betrayal of his hopes; for Camus it encapsulates the absurdity of life.In The Outsider (1942), his classic existentialist novel, Camus explores the predicament of the individual who refuses to pretend and is prepared to face the indifference of the universe, courageously and alone.
Part of the Penguin Classics campaign celebrating 100 years of Albert Camus, 'A Sea Close By' reveals the writer as a sensual witness of landscapes, the sea and sailing. It is a light, summery day-dream. Accompanying 'The Sea Close By' is the essay 'Summer in Algiers', a lovesong to his Mediterranean childhood.
Caligula reveals some aspects of the existential notion of 'the absurd' by portraying an emperor so mighty and so desperate in his search for freedom that he inevitably destroys gods, men and himself. The dramatic impetus of Cross Purpose, however, comes from the tension between consent to and refusal of man's absurdity; it is the tragedy of a man who returns home to his mother and sister without revealing his identity to them. By the time of The Just and The Possessed, refusal and rebellion have taken over, and in these overtly political plays (the latter based on Dostoyevsky's The Devils) Camus dramatizes action and revolt in the name of liberty.Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. His play, Caligula, appeared in 1939. His first two important books, L'Etranger (The Outsider) and the long essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), were published when he returned to Paris. After the war he devoted himself to writing and established an international reputation with such books as La Peste (The Plague 1947), Les Justes (The Just 1949) and La Chute (The Fall; 1956). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was killed in a road accident in 1960.