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Lyrical and Critical Essays

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  554 ratings  ·  30 reviews
'The literary output of Albert Camus was exceptionally concentrated and well organized, so that each part of it throws light on 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 intere ...more
Paperback, 365 pages
Published September 12th 1970 by Vintage (first published October 28th 1968)
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The Stranger by Albert CamusThe Plague by Albert CamusThe Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert CamusThe Fall by Albert CamusThe Rebel by Albert Camus
All about Camus
15th out of 24 books — 63 voters
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom StoppardOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezRosemary's Baby by Ira LevinNicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. MassieThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Best Books of 1967
46th out of 97 books — 33 voters

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Community Reviews

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Rakhi Dalal
For a man indifferent to despair and happiness, what does it matter if the sun rises everyday and then the day proceeds habitually in its entire splendor. For a man torn between Yes and No, what does the love of his land matter. For a man who expects nothing, what does a passion hold? How does a burdened heart embrace the joy of living? And yet, it is this contradiction which defines most of Camus’ writing and thoughts, his ideas of life and living. His despair stems from a deep love, despair be ...more
This book is a book of books and bits and pieces, so impossible really to review closely in one hit. So, I plan to review each independent part separately as I finish them and adjust the star counter as necessary.


'On a Philosophy of Expression'

Camus' reviews the work of the philosopher and essayist Brice Parain (1897-1971), and delves heavily into the idea of language (expression) and reality (that-which-becomes-expressed). Publlished by Camu
Sep 26, 2013 Rowena rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rowena by: Anthony
Shelves: philosophy, camus, essays

“The curtain of habits, the comfortable loom of words and gestures in which the heart drowses, slowly rises, finally to reveal anxiety’s pallid visage. Man is face to face with himself: I defy him to be happy…”
— Albert Camus, Death in the Soul

A collection of short essays by Camus, my favourites being the lyrical essays at the beginning of the book. They were mostly autobiographical, depicting Camus’ time in Algeria and also his observations in the countries he visited.
Camus writes lovely essa
Reading “Lyrical and Critical Essays” by Albert Camus, I think, should be a good introduction and foundation to his famous novels written later. A reason is that these essays revealing his outstanding views, his powerful narration as well as his inspiring ideas have since affirmed his literary stature since he wrote them in 1935-1936, he was then twenty-two (p. 5). As a reader having read his “The Outsider” (aka. “The Stranger”) and “The Plague”, I found it simply interesting to read this book b ...more
Mar 20, 2009 Kirsten rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in Camus, the lyric essay, and writing on nature and philosophy.
Recommended to Kirsten by: Elizabeth
This book is split into two sections of essays. The lyrical essays in the first section are probably of more interest to the general reader, since the critical essays are often in response to other works of French literature (not having read all of them, it's a bit harder to follow Camus's arguments). The very last section contains some interviews with him, where he emphatically denies being a nihilist.

What was unexpected for me is that the lyrical essays are almost all nature essays in some re
Roger DeBlanck
These essays illustrate with precision and elegance Camus’ ardor for life and his concerns about materialistic excess. The core of his empowering and inspiring philosophy of how to save life involves acknowledging, understanding, and practicing tolerance and moderation. Failure or refusal to do so leaves the world vengeful and violent. Life is exiled when the mind is abandoned. The greatest wisdom comes from admitting that we cannot know everything. In trying to remake the world, we must be wary ...more
It is time for new readers to come to this book. I would
still like to be one of them, just as I would like to go back
to that evening when, after opening this little volume in
the street, I closed it again as soon as I had read the first
lines, hugged it tight against me, and ran up to my room to
devour it without witnesses. (Camus, On Jean Greniers Les Iles)

How Camus felt about Les Iles, I had felt about his Resistance, Rebellion and Death. And now, this book. Rarely, have I enjoyed just savo
Stephen Tuck
I bought this book chiefly because it included Camus’ essays on his life in French Algeria, and in particular the essay ‘Summer in Algiers’ which I remembered well from reading in High School.

I digress (because Goddammit this is my page and I can if I want to) to add that it was a particularly insightful teacher, John McMahon, who set as reading in Year 11 and Year 12 French Camus’ L’Etranger and Sartre’s Huis Clos. He made the shrewd judgment that these were ideas that would appeal to 16-17 yea
I must admit I haven't read much of the critical essays in this, but the lyrical essays are some of my favorite of Camus's writing. I was prompted to read this by finishing up Camus A Romance. In it, the author speaks very highly of his early works, for good reason.

This book contains some of Camus's first publications--"The Wrong Side and the Right Side" and "Nuptials"--as well as "Summer", a later collection wherein he tries to recapture his former energy as displayed in Nuptials. All are great
This collection truly is a gem for anyone interested in Camus' thought. You will not find anything necessarily original here. As a matter of face, it may feel at times that you are hearing from a Camus you never thought existed. But much like Gide's letters and Camus' own notebooks, you are granted insight to the inner workings of the man. No single piece will seem to match the whole, which is to be expected. Despite all that, you gain in knowing more of the man. Who is, was, and sees himself as ...more
Knowing that certain nights whose sweetness lingers will keep returning to the earth and sea after we are gone, yes, this helps us to die. Great sea, ever in motion, ever virgin, my religion along with night! It washes and satiates us in its sterile billows, frees us and holds us upright. Each breaker brings its promise, always the same. What does each say? If I were to die surrounded by cold mountains, ignored by the world, an outcast, at the end of my strength, at the final moment the sea woul ...more
A continuation of this author's and thinker's impressions, observations, critiques, and opinions.

There are a couple to a few essays repeated from other anthologies; but overall, the added material dominates.

I particularly enjoyed his essay and observations on tragedy.

Also, in this collection are transcripts from various interviews. Wholly understandable why he felt the linking of himself to Sartre and the label existentialist "odd."

A great addition for any and all wishing to go beyond The Strang
This is my favorite of Camus' work. The collection of essays found here provide insight into Camus' thought and his world. At times what you learn seems to reflect the Algeria of his time. Yet in spite of the heat, the political and cultural tension that was Algeria, Camus' essays bring out a rare light to view the world as he does.

(Of special note to you Sartre lovers out there, this book contains some of the articles written between them. Think of them less as news journal articles and more li
Nov 17, 2010 Nathanial added it
Shelves: theory
Lyrical essays include excerpts from "The Myth of Sisyphus" and other books; my two favorites are the one on his hometown in winter and the one on returning home, disillusioned, only to find redemption in the sudden sunlight rounding a streetcorner. Critical essays include reviews of Rene Char and other contemporaries, an introduction to his stage adaptation of a Faulkner novel, and thoughts on Melville. Also included: a section of interviews and correspondence, like letters to Barthes and Sartr ...more
I am a big Camus fan.

His lyrical essays are engaging and beautiful. He's moderately easy-to-read and his ideas beautifully brought though sometimes complex understand. They are not obtuse. They can be grasped with careful meditation.

I don't always agree with his conclusions or worldview but I appreciate his thought process.

I was only able to read the lyrical part - my book fell apart and I lost the second half. I will continue the review when I find it.
Marik Casmon
I have just finished re-reading and underling on about every second page of the Lyrical Essays section of this book, most of which essays were written when Camus was relatively young. I find those early, I find myself unable, unwilling, to describe the intense love of this Earth than Camus's writing displays. A greater tribute to the sea and sky I've never seen.
May 27, 2009 Fatima rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people with troubled thoughts
Recommended to Fatima by: counselor
There are too many things to think about in life. Camus thought life was absurd, and i believe it to a certain point. it is what you make it. Camus writes with such beautiful, philosophical clarity, its hard to not follow him.
Mary Clark
Camus' lyrical style succeeds in making some of his greatest intellectual arguments. These essays make clear his point of view and show its development from childhood to the height of his career.
This book was my first exposure to Camus and I absolutely enjoyed it. His lyrical essays are superb; his critical reviews left me hungry for more. Very quotable.
Walter Kaufmann wrote that Camus was a nightingale who thought he was an owl. I don't know about that, but the lyrical essays have the pulse of sun and sea in them.
Dec 04, 2007 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
next time you're in a library or a bookstore or what-have-you, do yourself a favor and take 5 minutes to read the essay "love of life".
The lyrical essays are glorious but not without flaws. Often dismissed as juvenilia, it is Camus at his most vulnerable and romantic.
Chris Pariseau
This has more to do with my general mood than the quality of the prose. I had to abandon it. Things were getting too dark.
Josh Schoppe
in the depth of winter i found invinicble summer inside me
erin g
different than any camus you've ever read

Lovely, dark and deep.
Billy Candelaria
highly recommended
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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
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“Because there is nothing here than invites us to cherish unhappy lovers. Nothing is more vain than to die for love. What we ought to do is live.” 19 likes
“I cling like a miser to the freedom that disappears as soon as there is an excess of things.” 17 likes
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