A Happy Death

Front Cover
Vintage International, 1995 - Fiction - 192 pages
3 Reviews
In his first novel, A Happy Death, written when he was in his early twenties and retrieved from his private papers following his death in I960, Albert Camus laid the foundation for The Stranger, focusing in both works on an Algerian clerk who kills a man in cold blood. But he also revealed himself to an extent that he never would in his later fiction. For if A Happy Death is the study of a rule-bound being shattering the fetters of his existence, it is also a remarkably candid portrait of its author as a young man.

As the novel follows the protagonist, Patrice Mersault, to his victim's house -- and then, fleeing, in a journey that takes him through stages of exile, hedonism, privation, and death -it gives us a glimpse into the imagination of one of the great writers of the twentieth century. For here is the young Camus himself, in love with the sea and sun, enraptured by women yet disdainful of romantic love, and already formulating the philosophy of action and moral responsibility that would make him central to the thought of our time.

Translated from the French by Richard Howard
 

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User Review  - bodachliath - LibraryThing

In this early novella, which was only published posthumously, Camus writes of his youth in Algeria, and reflects on the nature of happiness. A strange tale of a murderer who escapes punishment and seeks happiness even in an early death. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rmckeown - LibraryThing

On November 7, 1913, Albert Camus was born in Algeria. He attended at the University of Algiers, where he was goalkeeper for the university team. He contracted tuberculosis in 1930. He completed his ... Read full review

Contents

PART
72
Natural Death
85
pArt
155
Notes and Variants
167
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Born in 1913 in Algeria, Albert Camus was a French novelist, dramatist, and essayist. He was deeply affected by the plight of the French during the Nazi occupation of World War II, who were subject to the military's arbitrary whims. He explored the existential human condition in such works as L'Etranger (The Outsider, 1942) and Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942), which propagated the philosophical notion of the "absurd" that was being given dramatic expression by other Theatre of the Absurd dramatists of the 1950s and 1960s. Camus also wrote a number of plays, including Caligula (1944). Much of his work was translated into English. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Camus died in an automobile accident in 1960.

Richard Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 13, 1929. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1951 and studied at the Sorbonne as a Fellow of the French Government in 1952-1953. He briefly worked as a lexicographer, but soon turned his attention to poetry and poetic criticism. His works include Trappings: New Poems; Like Most Revelations: New Poems; Selected Poems; No Traveler; Findings; Alone with America; and Quantities. He won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1969 for Untitled Subjects. He is also a translator and published more than 150 translations from the French. He received the PEN Translation Prize in 1976 for his translation of E. M. Cioran's A Short History of Decay and the American Book Award for his 1983 translation of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal. In 1982, he was named a Chevalier of L'Ordre National du Mérite by the government of France. He teaches in the Writing Division of the School of the Arts, Columbia University.

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