Thursday, August 06, 2009

Camus on Love and Frenetic Daftness

A beautiful section in the opening of Camus' The Plague:

"Certainly nothing is commoner nowadays than to see people working from morn till night and the proceeding to fritter-away at card-tables, in cafes and in small-talk what time is left for living. Nevertheless there still exists towns and countries where people have now and then an inkling off something different. In general it doesn't change their lives. Still, they have had an intimation, and that's so much to the good. Oran, however, seems to be a town without intimations; in other words, completely modern. Hence I see no need to dwell on the manner of loving in our town. The men and women consume one another rapidly in what is called 'the act of love,' or else settle down to a mild habit of conjugality. We seldom find a mean between these extremes. That, too, is not exceptional. At Oran, as elsewhere, for lack of time and thinking, people have to love one another without knowing much about it."
-The Plague, pages 4-5.

Camus's lines to me are peculiarly powerful. Resting a quote from them is like taking something from its natural seemless environment. There is a brimming whole vitality like the Mediterranean coast's.

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