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The Fiction of Albert Camus

A Complex Simplicity


Moya Longstaffe

This book takes a fresh look at the novels and short stories of Albert Camus, from his early attempt at a first novel, La Mort heureuse, to the largely autobiographical Le Premier homme, unfinished at the time of his death. It seeks to see the oeuvre as a totality, coherent throughout, and examines the linkages and transformations from one work to the next, in the context of Camus’s thought, attitudes and topoi or themes. The development of narrative techniques is examined, ranging from laconism to lyricism, from allegorism to realism, from humour to biting satire. The author traces the influence on Camus’s thought of philosophers and thinkers as diverse as Nietzsche and the pre-Socratics on the one hand, and St Augustine, Pascal, and Simone Weil on the other, and considers the circularity of his work, from the early preoccupation with the finality of death and the search for meaning to the return to the origin and source in Le Premier homme. The enduring appeal of Camus’s work is attributed to its humane openness and its challenges for our time.
Contents: Sisyphus’ Stone – The Gods of Happiness. La Mort heureuse – A Happy Life and a Happy Death. L’Étranger – Voices in a Time of Plague. La Peste – A Sojourn in the Circles of Hell. La Chute – The Landscapes of Solitude. L’Exil et le Royaume – Sailing to Ithaca. Le Premier homme – Adam’s Tale Retold.