Albert Camus, “The Plague”, Vintage International, New York, 1991, translated from French by Stuart Gilbert, 312 pagini


41RhBmCUIxL._SX300_BO1,204,203,200_Romanul povestește evenimente petrecute în Oran, un oraș de pe coasta Africii de Nord, în 194_, afectat e ciumă și izolat de restul lumii. Pornit de la întâmplări reale, textul este un pretext pentru a discuta, cu instrumentele existențialismului, reacțiile umane în fața morții. Întreaga existență a acestui obișnuit orășel capătă o cu totul altă dimensiune. Moartea devine, prin ubicuitate, aproape o realitate ca oricare alta. Marea problemă a romanului e că, odată cu traducerea din franceză, se pierde ceva din dramatism, lucru care nu se întâmplă în aceeași măsură în cazul traducerii românești, de exemplu. Oricum, romanul însuși e scris sub forma unei cronici detașate, mai degrabă interesată de chestiuni filosofice generale decât de drame individuale… traducerea englezească adaugă substanțial un ton rece, chirurgical, dezinteresat.  Prin urmare, lectura e lipsită de tensiune reala… E foarte dificil să te identifici cu un subiect care, în sine, creează empatie…


Nota mea: 7



The novel tells the story of the town of Oran, a small settlement on the coast of North Africa, affected by plague in 194_ and, consequently, isolated from the rest of the world. Based on real facts, „The Plague” is just a pretext that the writer uses to discuss (in an existentialist manner) the human reactions in front of death. The entire existence of this ordinary town is falling apart, reshaped by the presence of the plague. Death becomes, by its ubiquitousness, just a component like any other of the everyday life. Translated into English, the novel loses some of its emotional tension… That is not the case with the Romanian translation, for example… Although the novel itself is originally written as a chronicle, interested more in approaching philosophical aspects rather than individual tragedies, the English translation adds, if possible, even more aloofness to the text. That is why it becomes difficult for the reader to connect, to identify with a story that, in itself, is far from lacking empathy.


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„At the beginning of a pestilence and when it ends, there`s always a propensity for rhetoric. In the first case, habits have not yet been lost; in the second, they`re returning. It is in the thick of a calamity that one gets hardened to the truth – in other words, to silence.” 

„The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn`t the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill.” 

„Well, personally, I`ve seen enough of people who die for an idea. I don`t believe in heroism; I know it`s easy and I`ve learned it can be murderous. What interests me is living and dying for what one loves.” 

„[…] the habit of despair is worse than despair itself.” 

„I know positively […] that each of us has the plague within him; no one, no one on earth is free from it. And I know, too, that we must keep endless watch on ourselves lest in a careless moment we breathe in somebody`s face and fasten the infection on him. What`s natural is the microbe. All the rest – health, integrity, purity (if you like) – is a product of the human will, of a vigilance that must never falter. The good man, the man who infects hardly anyone, is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention.” 


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