States of Plague: Reading Albert Camus in a Pandemic

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Product Details
$20.00  $18.60
University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
5.84 X 8.77 X 0.72 inches | 0.78 pounds

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About the Author
Alice Kaplan is the Sterling Professor of French and Director of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale. She is the author of several books, including French Lessons, Looking for "The Stranger," and Dreaming in French, also published by the University of Chicago Press. She has been a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award. She lives in Guilford, Connecticut. Laura Marris is a writer and translator. Her recent translations include Albert Camus's The Plague, Louis Guilloux's Blood Dark, and Geraldine Schwarz's Those Who Forget. Her first solo-authored book, The Age of Loneliness, is forthcoming. She lives in Buffalo, New York.
"I thought I knew both The Plague and what it brings to the story of our own plague experience. After reading Kaplan and Marris's States of Plague, I realize I could not have been more mistaken. This is a brilliant book that is always eloquent, often insightful, and, at times, simply heartbreaking."-- "Robert Zaretsky, author of "Victories Never Last: Reading and Caregiving in a Time of Plague""
"Turning the intensity of a lockdown gaze on The Plague, Kaplan and Marris restore to Camus's constrained and unsettling allegory a world of associations, from occupied Paris in World War II to crumbling colonial cemeteries in Algiers. These erudite but highly personal reflections spiral outward from careful readings of the novel, relieving the mind like the ventilation of a long-closed room."-- "Emily Ogden, author of "On Not Knowing: How to Love and Other Essays""
"Reading this fascinating and often meditative collection of essays by two subject experts who are skilled readers and gifted writers helps us understand the sheer importance of looking. Even if metaphors fail, even if language only serves to illuminate what is impossible to beautify, seeing what is happening in the world is the only way to engage it."-- "Full Stop"
"In this mélange of history, literary analysis, and memoir, the authors explore the intersection between a celebrated novel, current realities, scholarship, language, and the tricks that time and circumstance play on all of them. Seasoned literary historian Kaplan and poet and translator Marris, whose new translation of The Plague was published in 2021, team up to cultivate a deeper understanding of Camus' classic novel. In alternating short essays, they braid together their distinct sensibilities to offer fresh insight and added significance to a canonical mid-20th-century book. . . . This is a notable addition to the literature about an indispensable French author."-- "Kirkus"
"Camus argued that 'The true work of art is one that says the least.' La Peste is such a work, and States of Plague is a moving, thoughtful, and scrupulous examination of both the novel and its readers, the book's inheritors."-- "Times Literary Supplement"
"In States of Plague, Kaplan and Marris combine their thought-provoking personal impressions with brilliant critical analyses based on the novel's wealth of cultural, historical, and political contexts. Their complementary readings function both as a helpful introduction to The Plague and eye-opening observations about the novel's contemporary relevance."-- "Raymond Gay-Crosier, emeritus, University of Florida"
"This intelligent study goes a long way in highlighting Camus's enduring legacy."-- "Publishers Weekly"
"Across 13 insightful, deeply personal chapters, Kaplan and Marris explore the human side of communal trauma. Many chapters provide the sociohistorical context for understanding Camus, covering topics ranging from colonial cemeteries to toxic Oranian politics, the messy denouement of world war, and beyond. Other chapters trace the author's experiences and choices in writing the novel--his writer's block, narrative identity, and literary restraint--and how he was received by the literary establishment. Importantly, the authors avoid scholarly detachment and instead share their insightful, often vulnerable, reflections in evocative prose that serves to reinforce the deeply humanistic importance of Camus's thought."--L.A. Wilkinson "CHOICE"