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“A Matter that Concerned Everybody”: A Philosophical–Literary Exploration of Community and Human Connectedness in Albert Camus’s The Plague

Smith, Brock (2017) “A Matter that Concerned Everybody”: A Philosophical–Literary Exploration of Community and Human Connectedness in Albert Camus’s The Plague. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Albert Camus’s novel The Plague has typically been read and interpreted either from a philosophical or from a literary perspective. By contrast, this dissertation argues that by examining the complementarity of The Plague’s philosophical and literary (specifically narratological) aspects, a richer analysis is achieved, and Camus’s combined preoccupations as both thinker and writer are highlighted. Focusing on the concepts of separateness, separation, collective experience, and the recognition of human connectedness, the narrative’s account of a community’s response to the outbreak of plague provokes philosophical examination. Drawing on the work of Jan Patočka, this dissertation explores how such a crisis forces the townspeople of Oran to question hitherto accepted norms of separateness and individualism. Similarly, an examination of the text’s narratological techniques, particularly its narrative structure and mode of narration, shows how such literary aspects of the novel are inherently an expression of its philosophical concerns. Thus, through understanding the integrated and inseparable nature of the philosophical and the literary in The Plague, we gain a deeper appreciation of Camus as a fiction writer and as a thinker.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Supervisor(s): Ucnik, Lubica and Surma, Anne
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/54361
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