***GroupRead: The Plague (Spoiler Free)
Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.
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Thanks for organizing. Now I will just read along with you in April.
Sounds like fun!
I've never done any GroupReads thingys before! So, please count me in!
I'll be reading La Peste - so it will certainly be interesting to compare notes - although I doubt that there will be too many identifiable differences between the French and the English translation?
I read L'etranger last August, and I believe that indirect references are made in La Peste to this earlier book (somewhere during the first chapter?) which always thrills me a little when authors do stuff like that.
Just got my copy of La Peste delivered today! So, all set for April. :-)
What happens during the read : do we stay in contact or anything like that? (not giving away any spoilers of course!)
(I may of course be so entangled in Infinite Jest and Enrique that I won't get there, but I may have also drowned my IJ by then in frustration. LOL)
I seem to be overextended at the moment, as well.
Thank you, kidzdoc, for setting this one up. I will see you in April.
So do we start reading in April, or are we expected to read before then, and start discussing in April ? Is it a whole book in 1 thread, or will it be broken into sections ? Just want to know so I can plan.
I plan to read two books about Camus in the next couple of months, Albert Camus, the Algerian: Colonialism, Terrorism, Justice by David Carroll, and Albert Camus: A Life by Olivier Todd, so that I can learn a bit more about him.
Read about it here.
I'm planning to read two books about Camus, in preparation for the group read: Albert Camus the Algerian: Colonialism, Terrorism, Justice by David Carroll, and Albert Camus: A Life by Olivier Todd. I'll probably also read his novel The First Man, which seems to be based on his early years in Algeria. I'll start posting more information about the read later this month.
Votar: Should the background notes be placed in the spoiler thread?
The Plague (La Peste) was published in 1947, five years after Camus began to work on it. His first two books, the existential novel The Stranger (L'Etranger) and the complimentary philosophical essay The Myth of Sisyphus (Le Mythe de Sisyphe), were published in 1942, to great critical acclaim, if not commercial success. Camus reviewed the first two books as his first cycle of writing, a study of the Absurd; The Plague and The Rebel (L'Homme révolté) were the main works of the second cycle, which was dedicated to Revolt, man's response to the Absurd.
In 1942, Camus was living in Oran, a large Algerian city on the coast of the Mediterranean which is the setting for the novel. There he met frequently with Emmanuel Roblès, a writer and schoolteacher who supplied Camus with information about the plague for his new book. Roblès also told Camus about his wife, who was stricken with epidemic typhus during the recent plague that struck hundreds of thousands of Algerians from 1941 to 1943, which was fatal in a large percentage of cases. Camus took notes of Roblès’ description, and incorporated it into the novel.
By 1943, Camus had moved to the mountains of France on the advice of his doctor, as he suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis. During that year he published a pamphlet, Des Exilés de la Peste, which portrayed ‘the Plague as Nazism and the rats as Germans’. As Camus saw it, ‘The Plague is not absurd in itself, and to face it, man must revolt. As 200 million Europeans were prisoners of the Nazis, so 200,000 imaginary Oran residents were prisoners of the Plague.’
He continued to work on The Plague during the War years, when he also edited and wrote articles for the Resistance newspaper Combat, and he based several of the novel's characters on his colleagues. His intense activity at that time and after liberation prevented him from concentrating on the novel fully until the summer of 1946, when he was able to settle in the French village of Moutiers, with the help of the Gallimard family. He finished the novel at the end of 1946, and it was published early the following year.
According to Camus, “La Peste may be read in three different ways. It is at the same time a tale about an epidemic, a symbol of Nazi occupation (and incidentally the prefiguration of any totalitarian régime, no matter where), and, thirdly, the concrete illustration of a metaphysical problem, that of evil…which is what Melville tried to do with Moby-Dick, with genius added.”
I will start reading the novel in earnest tomorrow (Sunday). It is divided into five uneven parts, and I would propose the following reading schedule (page numbers are based on the First Vintage International Edition):
Week 1 (April 3-9): Part One (pp 1-63)
Week 2 (April 10-16): Part Two (pp 65-164)
Week 3 (April 17-23): Parts Three and Four (pp 167-265)
Week 4 (April 24-30): Part Five (pp 267-308) and closing discussion
Another group question: should I compile a list of discussion questions?
Votar: Vote Yes if you want discussion questions, otherwise vote No
Here is an initial list of discussion questions for The Plague, taken from MonkeyNotes (http://www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pmPlague47.asp)
1. Fully describe Dr. Rieux. Why is he so important to the novel?
2. Explain the conflict of the novel and how it is resolved.
3. Does Camus’ attempt at making The Plague a chronicle detract from its success as a novel?
4. Fully describe Tarrou, Grand, and Rambert and explain Rieux’s relationships with each of them. What do his friendships with these men reveal about Rieux as a person?
5. How do the actions of Tarrou and Rieux prove that they live by their asserted moral codes?
6. What are the major Themes of the novel and how are they developed?
7. How is the novel allegorical?
8. Analyze Camus’ treatment of suffering, death, and God in The Plague.
9. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of making Rieux the narrator of The Plague.
I'll probably post some additional questions and thoughts to the spoiler thread as I continue to read the book; please feel free to do the same.
I have books for 4 book groups and an ER book I have to read first. So I will lurk on the non-spoiler thread until I can actually read.