Deep Emotion, Plain Speech: Camus’s The Plague

Laura Marris at The Paris Review:

The Plague was not an easy book to write. Camus was ill when he began it, then trapped by the borders keeping him in Nazi-occupied France. Aside from these difficulties, there was the pressure of authentically speaking up about the violence of World War II without falling into the nationalist heroics he deplored. Like with most problems in art, the solution was to address it directly: in one of the most revelatory sections of the novel, the character Tarrou blurs the line between fancy rhetoric and violence. “I’ve heard so much reasoning that almost turned my head,” he says, “and which had turned enough other heads to make them consent to killing, and I understood that all human sorrow came from not keeping language clear.”

All human sorrow! The boldness of this claim hints at how much Camus believed in words.

more here.