This is really two books: the first, a critical analysis of the literary and personal influences on the young Camus; the second, a selection of his unpublished writings--essay, prose, and verse--produced between the ages of 19 and 21. It is misleading to call Viallaneix' essay "introductory," since it assumes a working familiarity with Camus' oeuvre as well as those of the writers and philosophers he read as an adolescent--Gide, Baudelaire, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer, among others. The translator has thoughtfully provided explanatory notes for some of the more obscure references, but the reader who approaches this essay cold will find the going rough; those with the requisite background will find it insightful and illuminating. As is often the case with juvenilia, the pieces are more important for what they tell us about the author's mature works than for their intrinsic value as finished works of art. With-in the short span represented here, one follows the development of Camus' conception of literature (which emerges as a fully developed philosophy of art in The Rebel) from the "oblivion" of dreams to a "deliverance." Themes and images that turn up in the later works reveal themselves--the Mediterranean sun, for example, which assumes such an important role in The Stranger. The overall impression is of the young writer's seriousness of purpose, a touching sincerity, and an inveterate lyricism (which he strives to discipline), expressed in an endearingly clumsy style, as Camus attempts to define his task as an artist. Even before opening the book, we know it is significant; we discover that it is also affecting and charming.