A Happy Death : A novel by Albert Camus ; Translated from the French by Richard Howard ; Afterword and Notes by Jean Sarocchi
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1972. Book Club Edition. Hardcover. 192 pages ; 20 cm. In original dust jacket with unmarked pages and firm binding.
This is Albert Camus's first novel, written between 1936 and 1938, and now in 1972 published for the first time in English, following by less than a year its initial appearance in France. It is a work of his early twenties, a time when he was beginning to develop the philosophical and literary consciousness that eventually spoke so eloquently to the postwar generation.
In many interesting ways A Happy Death foreshadows The Stranger. But its most striking difference—beyond its differences of plot and intention—is that here Camus reveals more of himself than in his later, more mythic fiction. He seems very close to his protagonist. Through the young Patrice one feels in touch with the young Camus—his joy in the sea, sun, and open skies of his native Algeria, his relationships with women, his need of them and his detachment from them, the intense alienation he experienced as a traveler in Central Europe, his sense of the ways in which poverty can nourish or destroy. And it is from his own early intimations of death, movingly evoked, that this novel draws the concern—how is one to live in order to have a happy death, the right death—which is at the root of its drama.
A Happy Death is translated by Richard Howard. It is the first of the "cahiers" that Camus left unpublished and whose publication will complete his literary oeuvre.
Albert Camus was born in Mondovi, Algeria, in 1913. In occupied France in 1942 he published The Myth of Sisyphus and The Stranger, a philosophical essay and a novel that first brought him to the attention of intellectual circles. Among his other major writings are the essay The Rebel and three widely praised works of fiction, The Plague, The Fall, and The Exile and the Kingdom. He also published a volume of plays, Caligula and Three Other Plays, as well as various dramatic adaptations. In 1957 Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. On January 4, i960, he was killed in an automobile accident.
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