New York: The Modern Library, 1963. Reprint. Hard Cover. Near Fine / Very Good. Item #2324798
1963 printing, Toledano 109.2, binding/jacket style 9j with 415 titles on verso, $2.45 jacket price, grey Rockwell Kent endpapers. Jacket edges lightly rubbed, 1/16 inch green ink mark on half-title page.
278 pp. Translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus. Published in 1947, it tells the story from the point of view of a narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. The narrator remains unknown until the start of the last chapter, chapter 5 of part 5. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author's distinctive absurdist point of view. Camus used as source material the cholera epidemic that killed a large proportion of Oran's population in 1849, but situated the novel in the 1940s. Oran and its surroundings were struck by disease several times before Camus published his novel. According to an academic study, Oran was decimated by the bubonic plague in 1556 and 1678, but all later outbreaks (in 1921: 185 cases; 1931: 76 cases; and 1944: 95 cases) were very far from the scale of the epidemic described in the novel. The Plague is considered an existentialist classic despite Camus' objection to the label. The novel stresses the powerlessness of the individual characters to affect their destinies. The narrative tone is similar to Kafka's, especially in The Trial, whose individual sentences potentially have multiple meanings; the material often pointedly resonating as stark allegory of phenomenal consciousness and the human condition.