One of the twentieth century's most prominent authors, and a philosopher in his own right, Camus was a major influence on modern existentialist thinking. In this covetable boxed set are gathered together four of his major works, including his most famous novel, The Outsider.
Book 1: The Myth of Sisyphus
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" argues for an acceptance of reality that encompasses revolt, passion and, above all, liberty.
Book 2: The Outsider
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.
Book 3: The Plague
The townspeople of Oran are in the grip of a deadly plague, which condemns its victims to a swift and horrifying death. Fear, isolation and claustrophobia follow as they are forced into quarantine. Each person responds in their own way to the lethal disease: some resign themselves to fate, some seek blame, and a few, like Dr. Rieux, resist the terror. An immediate triumph when it was published in 1947, "The Plague" is in part an allegory of France's suffering under the Nazi occupation, and a story of bravery and determination against the precariousness of human existence.
Book 4: The Rebel
"The Rebel" is Camus's 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.