Books

The Outsider

Albert Camus (and others)

Meursault leads an apparently unremarkable bachelor life in Algiers until he commits a random act of violence. His lack of emotion and failure to show remorse only serve to increase his guilt in the eyes of the law, and challenges the fundamental values of society - a set of rules so binding that any person breaking them is condemned as an outsider. For Meursault, this is an insult to his reason and a betrayal of his hopes; for Camus it encapsulates the absurdity of life.

In The Outsider (1942), his classic existentialist novel, Camus explores the predicament of the individual who refuses to pretend and is prepared to face the indifference of the universe, courageously and alone.

The Outsider

Albert Camus (and others)

'My mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know.'

In The Outsider (1942), his classic existentialist novel, Camus explores the alienation of an individual who refuses to conform to social norms. Meursault, his anti-hero, will not lie. When his mother dies, he refuses to show his emotions simply to satisfy the expectations of others. And when he commits a random act of violence on a sun-drenched beach near Algiers, his lack of remorse compounds his guilt in the eyes of society and the law. Yet he is as much a victim as a criminal.

Albert Camus' portrayal of a man confronting the absurd, and revolting against the injustice of society, depicts the paradox of man's joy in life when faced with the 'tender indifference' of the world.

Sandra Smith's translation, based on close listening to a recording of Camus reading his work aloud on French radio in 1954, sensitively renders the subtleties and dream-like atmosphere of L'Étranger.

Albert Camus (1913-1960), French novelist, essayist and playwright, is one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. His most famous works include The Myth of Sisyphus (1942), The Plague (1947), The Just (1949), The Rebel (1951) and The Fall (1956). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, and his last novel, The First Man, unfinished at the time of his death, appeared in print for the first time in 1994, and was published in English soon after by Hamish Hamilton.

Sandra Smith was born and raised in New York City and is a Fellow of Robinson College, University of Cambridge, where she teaches French Literature and Language. She has won the French American Foundation Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize, as well as the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize.

The Sea Close By

Albert Camus

Part of the Penguin Classics campaign celebrating 100 years of Albert Camus, 'A Sea Close By' reveals the writer as a sensual witness of landscapes, the sea and sailing. It is a light, summery day-dream.

Accompanying 'The Sea Close By' is the essay 'Summer in Algiers', a lovesong to his Mediterranean childhood.

The Adulterous Woman

Albert Camus

She was waiting, but she didn't know for what. She was aware only of her solitude, and of the penetrating cold, and of a greater weight in the region of her heart.'

Camus's writing confronts the great philosophical dilemmas of our time with piercing clarity. These three powerful and evocative stories are heavy with the weight of the human condition, and rich with atmosphere. In them, an ageing labourer, a woman travelling in North Africa with her husband, and a schoolteacher tasked with transporting a prisoner each face their own moral crises.

This book contains The Adulterous Woman, The Silent Men and The Guest.

The Outsider

Albert Camus

The Outsider is an enduring classic of existential writing by Albert Camus

'Mother died today.
Or maybe yesterday, I don't know'

Meursault is different. He will not lie. He will not pretend.
He is true to himself.

So when his mother dies and he is unmoved, he refuses to do the proper thing and grieve. Returning to Algiers after the funeral, he carries on life as usual until he becomes involved in a violent murder.

In court, it is clear that Meursault's guilt or innocence will not be determined by what he did or did not do.

He is on trial for being different - an outsider.

'The story of a beach murder, one of the century's classic novels. Blood and sand' J.G. Ballard

'A compelling, dreamlike fable' Guardian

Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. He studied philosophy in Algiers and then worked in Paris as a journalist. He was one of the intellectual leaders of the Resistance movement and, after the War, established his international reputation as a writer. His books include The Plague, The Just and The Fall, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Camus was killed in a road accident in 1960.

The Plague

Albert Camus (and others)

The Plague by Albert Camus is an extraordinary odyssey into the darkness and absurdity of human existence.

'On the morning of April 16, Dr Rieux emerged from his consulting-room and came across a dead rat in the middle of the landing.'

It starts with the rats. Vomiting blood, they die in their hundreds, then in their thousands. When the rats are all gone, the citizens begin to fall sick. Like the rats, they too die in ever greater numbers.

The authorities quarantine the town. Cut off, the terrified townspeople must face this horror alone. Some resign themselves to death or the whims of fate. Others seek someone to blame or dream of revenge. One is determined to escape.

But a few, like stoic Dr Rieux, stand together to fight the terror. A monstrous evil has entered their lives but they will never surrender to it.

They will resist the plague.

'A matchless fable of fear, courage and cowardice' Independent

Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. He studied philosophy in Algiers and then worked in Paris as a journalist. He was one of the intellectual leaders of the Resistance movement and, after the War, established his international reputation as a writer. His books include The Plague, The Just and The Fall, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Camus was killed in a road accident in 1960.

The Fastidious Assassins

Albert Camus

A daring critique of communism and how it had gone wrong behind the Iron Curtain, Camus’ essay examines the revolutions in France and Russia, and argues that since they were both guilty of producing tyranny and corruption, hope for the future lies only in revolt without revolution.

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives – and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

The Fall

Albert Camus

A philosophical novel described by fellow existentialist Sartre as 'perhaps the most beautiful and the least understood' of his novels, Albert Camus' The Fall is translated by Robin Buss in Penguin Modern Classics.

Jean-Baptiste Clamence is a soul in turmoil. Over several drunken nights in an Amsterdam bar, he regales a chance acquaintance with his story. From this successful former lawyer and seemingly model citizen a compelling, self-loathing catalogue of guilt, hypocrisy and alienation pours forth. The Fall (1956) is a brilliant portrayal of a man who has glimpsed the hollowness of his existence. But beyond depicting one man's disillusionment, Camus's novel exposes the universal human condition and its absurdities - for our innocence that, once lost, can never be recaptured ...

Albert Camus (1913-60) is the author of a number of best-selling and highly influential works, all of which are published by Penguin. They include The Fall, The Outsider and The First Man. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, Camus is remembered as one of the few writers to have shaped the intellectual climate of post-war France, but beyond that, his fame has been international.

If you enjoyed The Fall, you might like Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'An irresistibly brilliant examination of modern conscience'
The New York Times

'Camus is the accused, his own prosecutor and advocate. The Fall might have been called "The Last Judgement" '
Olivier Todd

Exile and the Kingdom

Albert Camus (and others)

The stories of Exile and the Kingdom explore the dilemma of being an outsider - even in one's own country - and of allegiance. With intense power and lyricism, Camus evokes beautiful but harsh landscapes, whether the shimmering deserts of his native Algeria or the wild, mysterious jungles of Brazil.

Here a Frenchwoman is gradually seduced by the sheer difference of North Africa, a mutilated renegade is driven mad by the cruelty of his own people, and a barrel-maker watches the slow decline of his craft. A kindly teacher must choose between the law and a life, while a modest painter is out of his depth in the hypocrisy of the art world, and a French engineer discovers a new sense of belonging in a distant land.

French novelist, essayist, and playwright. Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work.

Carol Cosman is the translator of many works from French, both literary and scholarly. Among the books she has translated are Jean-Paul Sartre's "The Family Idiot: Gustave Flaubert, 1821-1857," Honoré de Balzac's "Colonel Chabert," Simone de Beauvoir's "America Day by Day," and most recently René Daumal's "Mount Analogue".

Caligula and Other Plays

Albert Camus (and others)

Caligula reveals some aspects of the existential notion of 'the absurd' by portraying an emperor so mighty and so desperate in his search for freedom that he inevitably destroys gods, men and himself. The dramatic impetus of Cross Purpose, however, comes from the tension between consent to and refusal of man's absurdity; it is the tragedy of a man who returns home to his mother and sister without revealing his identity to them. By the time of The Just and The Possessed, refusal and rebellion have taken over, and in these overtly political plays (the latter based on Dostoyevsky's The Devils) Camus dramatizes action and revolt in the name of liberty.

Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. His play, Caligula, appeared in 1939. His first two important books, L'Etranger (The Outsider) and the long essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), were published when he returned to Paris. After the war he devoted himself to writing and established an international reputation with such books as La Peste (The Plague 1947), Les Justes (The Just 1949) and La Chute (The Fall; 1956). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was killed in a road accident in 1960.

The Myth of Sisyphus

Albert Camus

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

Inspired by the myth of a man condemned to ceaselessly push a rock up a mountain and watch it roll back to the valley below, The Myth of Sisyphus transformed twentieth-century philosophy with its impassioned argument for the value of life in a world without religious meaning.

A Happy Death

Jean Sarocchi (and others)

Is it possible to die a happy death?This is the central question of Camus's astonishing early novel, published posthumously and greeted as a major literary event. It tells the story of a young Algerian, Mersault, who defies society's rules by committing a murder and escaping punishment, then experimenting with different ways of life and finally dying a happy man. In many ways A Happy Death is a fascinating first sketch for The Outsider, but it can also be seen as a candid self-portrait, drawing on Camus's memories of his youth, travels and early relationships. It is infused with lyrical descriptions of the sun-drenched Algiers of his childhood - the place where, eventually, Mersault is able to find peace and die 'without anger, without hatred, without regret'.

The First Man

Albert Camus (and others)

The unfinished manuscript of The First Man was discovered in the wreckage of car accident in which Camus died in 1960. Although it was not published for over thirty years, it was an instant bestseller when it finally appeared in 1994. The 'first man' is Jacques Cormery, whose poverty-stricken childhood in Algiers is made bearable by his love for his silent and illiterate mother, and by the teacher who transforms his view of the world. The most autobiographical of Camus's novels, it gives profound insights into his life and the powerful themes underlying his work.

Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. The works that established his international reputation include THE PLAGUE, THE FALL, THE REBEL and THE OUTSIDER. Camus died in a road accident in 1960 and is remembered as one of the greatest philsophical novelists of the twentieth century.

The Rebel

Albert Camus (and others)

A philosophical exploration of the idea of 'rebellion' by one of the leading existentialist thinkers, Albert Camus' The Rebel looks at artistic and political rebels throughout history, from Epicurus to the Marquis de Sade. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is translated by Anthony Bower with an introduction by Oliver Todd.

The Rebel is Camus' 'attempt to understand the time I live in' and a brilliant essay on the nature of human revolt. Published in 1951, it makes a daring critique of communism - how it had gone wrong behind the Iron Curtain and the resulting totalitarian regimes. It questions two events held sacred by the left wing - the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917 - that had resulted, he believed, in terrorism as a political instrument. In this towering intellectual document, Camus argues that hope for the future lies in revolt, which unlike revolution is a spontaneous response to injustice and a chance to achieve change without giving up collective and intellectual freedom.

Albert Camus (1913-60) is the author of a number of best-selling and highly influential works, all of which are published by Penguin. They include The Fall, The Outsider and The First Man. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, Camus is remembered as one of the few writers to have shaped the intellectual climate of post-war France, but beyond that, his fame has been international.

If you enjoyed The Rebel, you might like Camus' The Fall, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'One of the great humanist manifestos'
The Times

'A conscience with style'
V.S. Pritchett, author of A Cab at the Door

The Myth of Sisyphus

Albert Camus (and others)

The summation of the existentialist philosophy threaded throughout all his writing, Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus is translated by Justin O'Brien with an introduction by James Wood in Penguin Classics.

In this profound and moving philosophical statement, Camus poses the fundamental question: is life worth living? If human existence holds no significance, what can keep us from suicide? As Camus argues, if there is no God to give meaning to our lives, humans must take on that purpose themselves. This is our 'absurd' task, like Sisyphus forever rolling his rock up a hill, as the inevitability of death constantly overshadows us. Written during the bleakest days of the Second World War, The Myth of Sisyphus (Le Mythe de Sisyphe) argues for an acceptance of reality that encompasses revolt, passion and, above all, liberty.

This volume contains several other essays, including lyrical evocations of the sunlit cities of Algiers and Oran, the settings of his great novels The Outsider and The Plague.

Albert Camus (1913-60) is the author of a number of best-selling and highly influential works, all of which are published by Penguin. They include The Fall, The Outsider and The First Man. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, Camus is remembered as one of the few writers to have shaped the intellectual climate of post-war France, but beyond that, his fame has been international.

If you enjoyed The Myth of Sisyphus, you might like Camus' The Outsider, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Camus could never cease to be one of the principal forces in our domain, nor to represent, in his own way, the history of France and of this century'
Jean-Paul Sartre

The Outsider

Albert Camus

Albert Camus' laconic masterpiece about a Frenchman who murders an Arab in colonial Algeria is famous in its time for diagnosing a state of alienation and spiritual exhaustion which summed up the mood of the mid-twentieth century. Today, more than fifty years after its first appearance, we can see that this early success was no passing fashion: The Outsider continues to speak to us of ultimate things with the force of a parable and the excitement of a thriller and remains one of the most widely read and influential classics of the century.

Selected Essays And Notebooks

Albert Camus (and others)

This selection from his essays. Lyrical and Critical, and from his private notebooks aims to present Camus as a writer and literary critic, as well as Camus the individual.

Biography

Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. The works that established his international reputation include THE PLAGUE, THE FALL, THE REBEL and THE OUTSIDER. Camus died in a road accident in 1960 and is remembered as one of the greatest philsophical novelists of the twentieth century.