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The Plague

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  74,424 ratings  ·  2,144 reviews
A gripping tale of human unrelieved horror, of survival and resilience, and of the ways in which humankind confronts death, The Plague is at once a masterfully crafted novel, eloquently understated and epic in scope, and a parable of ageless moral resonance, profoundly relevant to our times. In Oran, a coastal town in North Africa, the plague begins as a series of portents...more
Paperback, First Vintage International Edition, 308 pages
Published March 1991 by Vintage International (first published 1947)
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Ah, death; it's always there, isn't it? It is a terrible fate, doomed upon us all, that could take place at any time, in millions of different ways. The Jews who witnessed the holocaust are aware of this. The people of Haiti know this. The mother who lost her only child in a car accident is aware of this. Most individuals (and groups of individuals) spend their days fighting the fact of death, lying to themselves, using clever ways to avoid its ever-present reality. Looking death in its cold, in...more
Rakhi Dalal
I read “The Plague” right after reading “Swann’s Way”. Of course it wasn’t a deliberate move. But as I moved on, I realized that reading of ‘The Plague’ had rendered something quite remarkable in the way I realized and appreciated both works. Both works embody a reality. ‘Swann’s Way’ speaks of the reality that is long gone by and one wish to remember and cherish, whereas, ‘The Plague’ makes one more acutely aware of the bleakness of actual reality when imposed through an epidemic such as plague...more
Petra SockieX
This was as much an existentialist tract as it was a book about the descent of a town into plague, the gradient of the decline increasing exponentially until they reach the pit. There it is death and smoke and groans and every bit the imagined hell of those with a religious consciousness.

But the plague has no relationship to religion. The innocent die as much as the guilty. Shady people are sly by night, criminals escape justice, the great and the good die in their beds, the plague is the great...more
Oct 02, 2007 Poliwalk rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to ruminate on life, morality and religion.
This book has been one of the most influential in my life. Camus uses the premise of a town infected by the plague and quarantined from the rest of the world to explore some of the great philosophical questions. I find his exploration of religion very astute--that God is either not able to prevent evil and is thus not omnipotent or that God is all powerful and thus condones evil. Either option to Camus is a God not worthy of worship.

Many people read The Stranger and think Camus is a pessimist,...more
Dear Book,

It was tough. We met. You talked (a lot). I listened (not a lot a lot).

You said things like:
"Comprehension is the only code of morals."
I said through a yawn:
"Now, why can't you talk like a normal book."
Then you said:
"It is in the thick of calamity that one gets hardened to the truth - in other words, to silence."
I said:
"Hmmm any idea where I can find a thick calamity?"

You told me a story where there are no heroes. You said extrapolating basic humanity into pedestals and epaulettes was...more
"Treeless, glamourless, soulless, the town of Oran ends by seeming restful and, after a while, you go complacently to sleep there."

The Plague is set in Oran, a city in Algeria that experiences a breakout of the Bubonic plague, and is soon placed under quarantine. We witness the changes among this community as they are cut off from the outside world; they experience all manners of emotions from hysteria, despondency, avarice, uncertainty,self-reflection and fear.

The Plague is definitely a depre...more
Oct 09, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sartre
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Life is brief... Camus knew this and had the fact proved first hand when he was smooshed in a car accident at the relatively young age of 46. Death is coming people and nothing can stop it. But the question is, do you ignore this fact and live in a kind of blissful fluffy world where it seems nothing can go wrong? Or do you pre-emptively stick your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye?

Some have argued that Camus should have stuck to journalism, being a politically aware bad-ass and...more

But, you know, I feel more fellowship with the defeated than with saints. Heroism and sanctity don't really appeal to me, I imagine. What interests me is being a man .

In his novel Camus creates a metaphorical image of the world wrestling with evil, whose symbol is the title plague, devastating Oran in 194 .. year ; author deliberately does not specify the exact year , presented events may have occurred in every time .

It could be war.Or earthquake .Or serious illness.Or famine. It could be some...more
Second reading. This is an essential book. If there's a canon, The Plague belongs in it. A few things interested me this time through. Mostly the narrator's penchant, most effective, for writing about the town's collective mood. This device struck me as an improvement on the Soviet worker novels of the day (1947). The prose is not pumped up to triumphalist proportions. (There must be a scholar somewhere who's addresses this. I'll have to search LC.) Neither is there an idealized superman worker,...more
1913–2013 A hundred years of Albert Camus, a writer.

…and to state quite simply what we learn in a time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.

Yes, Nazism influenced the writing of this story, Camus was living through it and resisting it, in his way; but it is not about it. This novel, published after The Myth of Sisyphus and written during the sometimes hostile response to the book, begins what became to be known as Camus’ ‘Cycle of Revolt’ (along with The Re...more
Huda Yahya
ألبير كامي

لن يقتنع الآخرون بحججك، بإخلاصك، بحقيقة معاناتك إلا بموتك


الحقيقة كالضوء، تعمي
الكذب كالشفق الجميل الذي يسحر كل موجود


أحب الحياة- هذه هي نقطة ضعفي
أحبها بشكل كبير لدرجة أني غير قادر على أن تخيل عكسها


لتكون سعيدا فإنه من الضروري أن لا تهتم كثيرا بالآخرين


الإنسان لا يمكن أن يكون متيقنا من أي شيء


نحن مخلوقات إست

The Plague - A brief quiz:

1. You find a dead rat on your front door: what do you do?
a) Ignore it, there are no rats in your clean house.
b) Remark to yourself 'how odd' but carry on as if nothing has happened.
c) Actively seek to work out why such a thing has happened to your house.
d) Note that many such cases of dead rats are happening in your neighbour's home and note that this is no coincidence.

2. A small handful of separate people across town start coming down with a strange disease. What do y...more
Kristopher Jansma
by Albert Camus

I have been on the hunt for books that might fit with my new Fall semester course on Apocalyptic Literature, and this one seemed like a natural fit. I'd read a bit of Camus before - The Stranger, of course, and The Fall... though I don't remember anything about that one. Camus, like Sartre, falls under the heading in my mind of philosophers who probably shouldn't have gone into creative writing (see entry on Nausea, and also a sentiment soon to be repeated as I try to read Ayn Ran...more
يحيى استانبولي Yahia Istanbuli

كثير من الموتى هنا: ربما عشرون ألف إنسان.. وتسعون ألف جرذ.. والكل سواء..
وأتساءل: من يحاسب الكاتب على ضحاياه؟ هنالك أعداد غفيرة من القتلى يتحتم عدم السكوت عنها!!

في مواجهة الوباء: كل انسان يموت في اليوم عدة مرات، وتفقد العلاقات الإنسانية ألقها مرة وتتهيج وتتضخم مرات..،

في مدينة موبوءة، تصبح رؤية الأطفال وهم يسقطون صرعى اختبارا حقيقيا للإيمان المتبقي في القلوب.. حيث المئات يساقون إلى حتوفهم صاحبين معهم التقيحات والدمامل..

لا مزيد ليقال هنا غير كلمات من رحم الرواية ذاتها: لا تهمني البطولة ولا...more
Carmo Santos
A história de A Peste desenrola-se na cidade Argelina de Orão; uma cidade pacata cujos habitantes levam uma vida vulgaríssima e rotineira, sem nada que os distinga ou os torne especiais.
Quando as ruas da cidade são invadidas por bandos de ratos a morrer, não há sobressaltos nem preocupações além do evidente mal-estar perante a visão dos cadáveres. Só quando surgem os primeiros casos de morte em humanos e é lançado o aviso de um possível surto de peste é que a população começa a manifestar os pr...more
Sometimes I dislike the fact that I'm fluent in three languages, French being one of them. On certain occasions speaking and writing (--as well as thinking) in one language can become a huge, mystifying undertaking, making me wish I only spoke one language.

Having not read French books in what feels like an eternity (why would an overworked student getting education in English pursue learning French?), I had forgotten what a delight those could be. In La Peste, Albert Camus provides us readers w...more
It's difficult to review a book like this. There is no denying the brilliance of Camus as a writer and philosopher. He wrote with conviction, eloquence, and passion. His characters arouse sympathy and compassion as they struggle through tragic circumstances in a meaningless world. Herein, though, lies the problem. He presupposes a life of meaninglessness in a chance existence, and constructs his philosophy around that presupposition. He understands at least some of the consequences of his positi...more
THE PLAGUE is my favorite Camus in part because it treats its subject humanely. While I can appreciate this historical influence of THE STRANGER, I find that famous "writing degree zero" style a bit too stylized for my taste---not so much in Camus, perhaps, but by the many imitators who have latched onto it in an effort to exploit the emotional detachment it allows for. Besides becoming a cheap term that gets used all the time without any philosophical specificity whatsoever, 'existentialism' as...more
Azar Hoseininejad

وقتی به اعمال درخشان اهمیت بیش از حد بدهیم، در نتیجه تجلیل مهم و غیر مستقیمی از بدی به عمل آورده ایم. زیرا در آن صورت فرض کرده ایم که این اعمال درخشان فقط به این علت ارزش پیدا کرده اند که کمیابند و و شرارت و بی اعتنایی محرکین اصلی در اعمال بشری هستند و این عقیده ای است که راوی داستان قبولش ندارد.

شر و بدی که در دنیا وجود دارد پیوسته از نادانی می زاید و حسن نیت نیز اگر از روی اطلاع نباشد ممکن است به اندازه ی شرارت تولید خسارت کند. مردم بیشتر خوبند تا بد و در حقیقت، مسئله این نیست. بلکه آنها کم یا
Robert Smith ruined Camus for decades. Not that I hate The Cure, I like them okay, even more than okay through stretches, but, fuckers, I associated Camus with Cure fans for decades and, in turn, dismissed his work as aimed at the clove-cigarette crowd. This past year I re-read The Stranger and, in need of a book near the library’s closing time, I picked up The Plague. Holy Jesus, The Plague is amazing. The novel disturbed me, and I can’t say I understood everything (I have no goddamn idea what...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write essays on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #42: The Plague (1948), by Albert Camus

The story in a nutshell / The argument for it being a classic*:

(*I found the storyline of this book and the arguments for...more
When the plague stealthily but mercilessly struck Oran, Dr. Rieux and his friends had to fight in the dark a noiseless enemy and could only rely on their courage and resilience. Whether the plague symbolized the Nazi occupation of France or the general suffering of our human condition, Camus focused on the internal character and strength of Rieux and his friends rather than the storm’s force and direction. Tarrou organized the sanitation team and Grand joined even though, as Rieux noted, their s...more
For some reason, I didn't like La Peste nearly as much I had expected. In fact, I found it pretentious and annoying. Maybe I should re-read it... I have a feeling I missed something. My thoughts during the first reading were that he was way too pleased with himself for having been a hero of the Resistance, and that I no longer found it very odd that Sartre had had a major falling out with him which ended with them no longer speaking to each other.

Michael Austin
In every literary and artistic movement, I believe, there is one work that stands out as 1) a representative of everything that the movement stands for; and 2) a work of art that can be enjoyed on its own merits by people who do not like, or agree with, the movement that it represents. For me, "I Will Survive" fills this role for disco music; "Spirited Away" fills it for Japanese Anime, and THE PLAGUE does it for French existentialism.

THE PLAGUE makes largely the same argument as THE STRANGER a...more
The universe doesn't care about you. You will strive for human connection, but you will die alone. There is no sense in suffering; it is not rational. You have an expiration date.

This is a great study of how different personalities respond to suffering. Some succumb, some fight, some detect the scent of divinity.

See also: Suttree, The Book of Job.
Jun 09, 2008 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interested in philosophy, sociology, rockin' infectious diseases
You can look at this book in several different ways, many of which involve really big words that make my brain hurt. Straightforwardly, it's a "mostly" engrossing tale of a town isolated from the world and in the grip of pestilence. Metaphorically, sociologically, philosophically, OWWW... see, there it goes. How do you even begin to talk about something like this? "The Plague" is one of those books you can keep in your head for years, realizing new aspects or layers to it without ever even picki...more

لطالما اعتبرت الكتابة عن كارثة ما، أمراً معقداً، لأن على الكاتب أن يكتبها بعقله وقلبه معاً، يكتب بعقله فيظهر لنا أثر الكارثة على المجتمع البشري ككل، بمؤسساته وسلطاته وناسه، على العقل أن يعرض الصورة الكاملة للكارثة، حتى ندرك حجمها، ثم على القلب بعد ذلك أن يتغلغل في ذلك النسيج الاجتماعي الذي يتمزق، فينتقي لنا أفراداً، أفراد يمكن لنا كقراء أن نتآلف معهم، نحبهم ونهتم بمصائرهم، هذا المزيج يظهر لنا حجم الكارثة على المستوى العام، وعلى مستوى أبطالنا الذين صرنا نعرفهم جيداً، ونعرف تأثيرات ما يحدث...more
Hemdan Ahmed
"ان كل مايستطيع الانسان ان يربحه في معركة الطاعون و الحياة هو المعرفة و التذكُّر"

هو ألبير كامو بعبثيته بلامبالاته بتشكيكه و شكوكه في كل شئ ، في فرديته و رؤيته الانسانية الخاصة ( انها الوجودية الملحدة) في اوضح صورها على يد قطبها الكبير البير كامو ؛

الطاعون يهاجم مدينة " قبيحة "_ هكذا وصفها كامو _ و هي مدينة وهران العربية الجزائرية ( كامو لا يراها هكذا )و تغلق المدينة و يُنفى اهلها ليس خارج المدينة و انما خارج وجودهم و تفردهم و انسانيتهم و ربما ايضا ايمانهم بكل شئ ؛

في كتاب الوجودية مذهب انساني حاول...more
Eman salem
يروي البير كامو قصة مدينة مع الطاعون بدايةً من ظهوره وحتى انحساره القصة التي يرويها طبيب عاصر الاحداث من بدايتها الى نهايتها ، مع ان الرواية مشهورة ويوجد بها الكثير من الافكار فيما يتعلق بالقدر والايمان والموت والحياة وآراء متعددة حول كل من هذه المواضيع ومع ورود بعض الجمل التي تستحق الاقتباس الا انها مملة ، لم استطع ايجاد عيب فيها ، لكنها ليست ممتعة .. عموماً لا بأس من قراءتها . فكرة اخيرة طرحها الكاتب وهي الطاعون كرمز مقارباً بين مرض الطاعون الحقيقي بعوارضه المعروفة و الطاعون كفكرة موجودة في ال...more
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Movie vs. Book. 9 89 May 27, 2014 09:02PM  
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plague as a character 11 141 Oct 21, 2012 09:39PM  
Plague 1 78 May 30, 2007 05:52AM  
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Albert Camus was an Algerian-born French author, philosopher, and journalist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He is often cited as a proponent of existentialism (the philosophy that he was associated with during his own lifetime), but Camus himself rejected this particular label. Specifically, his views contributed to the rise of the more current philosophy known as absurdis...more
More about Albert Camus...
The Stranger The Fall The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt Exile and the Kingdom

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“I have no idea what's awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.” 603 likes
“And he knew, also, what the old man was thinking as his tears flowed, and he, Rieux, thought it too: that a loveless world is a dead world, and always there comes an hour when one is weary of prisons, of one's work, and of devotion to duty, and all one craves for is a loved face, the warmth and wonder of a loving heart.” 280 likes
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