In these posthumously published notebooks of Camus, written well before he was thirty, one can find the seeds for almost all the later works, from The Stranger and Caligula on to The Fall. The themes, however, present themselves more peripherally than profoundly, and what we have here, often in those clear, classic constructions which so marked the Nobel Prize winner's style, is really genius in its green days: something explorative, something essayistically exuberant, at times very moving. Camus same early to the truth as he saw it: modern man's confrontation between ideals and deologues, the hero as exile in a blank slate of existence, a universe without God, a day-to-day monotony of megalopolis, of alienation both from humanity and from nature. For Camus the experience of the absurd was everywhere— "not only is there no solution, but there aren't even any problems"; yet as the notebooks and the novels show he sought both. Over and over in these pages, filled with a young man's debt to persons (readings n Kierkegaard, Aurelius, Tolstoy), to place (travels in Algeria, France, Italy) and to casual contacts (scraps of overheard conversation; studies in character), it is the "complete awareness" of the facts, of death and of freedom, of love and despair, which he preaches. Sensual fulfillment and stoical objectivity are the weapons, the acceptance of pleasure and of pain the programme. A resolution to live within the limits of the possible, a tragic joy in a "univers absurd", these cahiers are relevant and revelatory, the journey of an era and a man.
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