Withheld from publication in France for twenty-nine years after his death, and now in English for the first time, Camus's final journals give us our rawest and most intimate glimpse yet into one of the most important voices of French letters and twentieth-century literature. The first two volumes of his Notebooks began as simple instruments of his ...
Withheld from publication in France for twenty-nine years after his death, and now in English for the first time, Camus's final journals give us our rawest and most intimate glimpse yet into one of the most important voices of French letters and twentieth-century literature. The first two volumes of his Notebooks began as simple instruments of his work; this final volume, recorded over the last nine years of his life, take on the characteristics of a more personal diary. Fearing that his memory was beginning to fail him, Camus noted here his reactions to the polemics stirred by The Rebel, his feelings about the Algerian War, his sojourns in Greece and Italy, thinly veiled observations on his wife and lovers, heartaches over his family, and anxiety over the Nobel Prize that he was awarded in 1957. Notebooks 1951-1959 completes one of the most important set of literary "working papers" of the past century. Ryan Bloom's sensitive translation was shortlisted for the French-American Foundation and Florence Gould Foundation translation prize for nonfiction.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-02-25 The French existentialist literary lion's belief that one writes as one lives suffuses these journals covering his last decade. Especially in the earlier years, these are very much working notebooks, full of undigested, fragmentary, sometimes cryptic raw material for later writings. Smoothly translated by Bloom, who teaches at the University of Maryland-Baltimore, the entries include thoughts on passages from Tolstoy, Dostoyevski, Emerson and Nietzsche; philosophical pensees ("Naturalness is not a virtue that one has: it is acquired"); jotted ideas for novels and plays ("Play: A happy man. And nobody can put up with him"); and crumbs of surreal whimsy ("A courageous cravat" reads one entry in its entirety). Later entries become more diaristic, expansive and self-revealing. They include Camus's agonized ruminations on France's war with his native Algeria, letters attacking French intellectuals' Stalinist sympathies, observations on his wife's depression, an affecting homage to his ailing mother and elaborations on his project of rescuing humanism from ideology. The notebooks' atmospherics, like a Gaulois-hazed room, are serious and tinged with thoughts of suicide. But there are extended breaks in the angst-including luminous travelogues from sojourns in Greece-that reinforce Camus's stubborn determination to lead a meaningful life in an indifferent universe. (May 18) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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