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Search tags: Albert-Camus
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text 2019-02-25 21:55
Reading progress update: I've read 47%.
The Plague - Tony Judt,Albert Camus,Robin Buss

‘I don’t think I’m a coward, most of the time at least. I have had the opportunity to test it. Only, there are some ideas that I cannot bear.’

The doctor looked directly at him.

‘You’ll see her again,’ he said.

‘Perhaps, but I cannot bear the idea of this going on and of her getting older all that time. At thirty, you are starting to get old and you have to take advantage of everything. I don’t know if you can understand that.’ 



Btw, I'm not too fond of the English version of this. I seem to remember that my old German translation had a much better flow and was less ambiguous, too.

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quote 2018-07-28 15:57
Zrozumiałem po prostu, że jest jedyny sposób zrównania się z bogami: wystarczy im dorównać w okrucieństwie.
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review 2018-06-25 00:00
A Happy Death
A Happy Death - Richard Howard,Albert Camus,Jean Sarocchi As a sort-of preconception of The Stranger, A Happy Death is also its flip-side in which Mersault gets away with pre-meditated murder (as opposed to what we could say is, if I remember correctly, involuntary manslaughter in The Stranger.)

While Mersault of A Happy Death is not yet the alienated and detached Mersault of The Stranger, for he still possesses the ability to be affected and to form attachment, the early seeds of absurdism are present in his quest of finding happiness.

In accord with his – for the lack of a better word – victim’s claim that money cannot buy happiness but it can buy time, which is essential for the pursuit of doing what you want and enabling one to be one’s true self, Mersault discovers that one can only find happiness with oneself, in the very solitude of being oneself.

However, that is easier said than done, as having time does not guarantee happiness per se. To be happy requires being the will to be happy, to immerse oneself in the present, in the here and now, and arrange the time one has to that purpose.

And that state is what Mersault manages to achieve and does in the end meet – although an outside observer would call it all but one – a happy death.

I must say I find these concepts both mind-boggling and intriguing but also agreeable – to an extent; they certainly give one food-for-thought and the desire to revisit them and this novel as well as its eventual and more famous successor.

Additionally, A Happy Death (as well as The Stranger, as far as I remember), has a certain ease of language, and I found myself liking the style very much; I particularly loved how Camus uses the wording and pacing to illustrate various settings and Mersault’s states of mind.

My edition came with a lengthy afterword, providing literary analysis I disagree with on several points.

Chiefly, it simplifies Mersault motive for his act of murder merely as greed (and jealousy, which I couldn’t see at all), whereas I saw it at least in equal part as an act – albeit certainly not selfless – of some kind of mercy that can be basically considered euthanasia of the man who per his own admission did not want to live the life he had but lacked the courage and strength to end it himself. (To be clear, I am not exonerating Mersault’s motives, I just think they are more complex that Mr. Sarrocchi would want the reader to believe.)

I also do not think the discrepancies between the autobiographical elements of Camus’s life and their imperfect alignment in fiction should be held against the novel. After all, complete truthfulness to real life is not the measure of quality of fiction.

And lastly, according to Mr. Sarrocchi, A Happy Death supposedly failed as a novel in terms of form and composition, which must have been the reason it was not published at the time of writing and was later reworked.

Nevertheless, to conclude, I think that in 80 years since the novel’s conception (and 45 since the aforementioned critique’s) the literary landscape has changed enough that we, new readers, can appreciate A Happy Death from a different perspective and with the experience of the present time which Camus’s work seems to resonate with perhaps better than it did with the time of its origin.
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review 2018-03-24 11:20
Anomic Outsiders: "The Stranger" by Albert Camus
The Stranger - Albert Camus, Matthew Ward

As a dilettante translator I find this book fascinating, even though I don’t read French.


Literary texts are sacred and you cannot alter them; translations on the other hand are a more or less faithful reflection of the original text, but can be altered, changed, or renewed. Did Proust write "Remembrance of Things Past" or "In Search of Time Lost" or “In Search of Lost Time"? My favourite is Gabrielle Roy's "Bonheur d'occasion" published in English as "The Tin Flute". As a general point, a translation transmigrates one text for another; often the "mistakes" don't matter (to the monoglot reader). On the other hand, the title is the only part of a work of literature known even to those who haven't read it. I note in passing that étranger “doesn’t just mean "stranger" but also "foreigner", and in the colonial context, that could have been a possibility too. It's a bit like 9 to 5 by Sheena Easton and 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton.



If you're into European Literature, read on.

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review 2018-02-16 03:30
A Man Detached From The Living That Is Rich In Writing
The Outsider (Penguin Modern Classics) - Sandra Smith,Albert Camus

Detachment. Misunderstood. An outsider. The first time I read Albert Camus's The Outsider (also known as The Stranger for U.S. publication), I was recommended that this was his best work. With over a little 100 over pages, divided into two parts, this is a story of Meursault, a man that doesn't connect with the world of the living.


The book opens with a funeral of Meursault's mother. He doesn't feel any sadness of his mother, let alone feel anything at all. He shares a cigarette with a caretaker as his mother's friends attend and watch him, he doesn't shed a tear. After a few days, he met a girl named Marie and they became intimate. He made a friend as well with a colleague of his (Raymond) and soon they embark on a beach where one choice change the life of Meursault that leads him a destination he accepted, even he feels nothing towards the world of the living.


The Outsider in many ways speaks in volumes. The right to judge someone, the absurd condition of humankind and the right to challenge one's belief. There are many parts of this book that speaks well of people who many do not understand. I felt Meursault is not a tragic character but a character, in general, people do not understand. I for one... do. There is so much richness in this book that if read between the words, I understand that a person as simple how Meursault thinks about the world itself, its deeper than it covers the depths of a simple book. In fact, there is so much to explore and even discuss the meanings as much as how incredible and carefully written this book where its not meticulous and yet, well written in many ways. I truly enjoy the book as much as I understand the world Meursaultthinks he is in. Where one is forced to believe in God, he doesn't. Where one believes he had no attachments to his girlfriend Marie of love, but he would do what she wants him to. He did love his mother, but in his own way that nobody understands. In a point where how Meursault live his life, he felt indifferent towards what is in front of him.


I enjoy reading The Outsider. To me, I would recommend anyone with an open mind to read this. This is truly a book I consider a classic and its a rare thing to enjoy this much. I should have taken more time to finish this since its a short book but in the end, its worth finishing it.

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