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"Die Pes": Albert Camus; masterpiece translated into Afrikaans

"Die Pes" ("The Plague"), one of the most successful novels of Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus, has just been translated into Afrikaans. A masterpiece of 20th century literature, the text was translated by Piet de Jager and published by Protea Boekhuis. They were supported by the French embassy in South Africa and the French institute ("Institut français") in Paris, with the aim to promote linguistic diversity and access to French literature. In association to this initiative, Dibuka and the Alliance française of Johannesburg propose an exceptional encounter with translators Piet de Jager and Georges Lory (who translates, among others, Nadine Gordimer into French) the 18th of August at 11 am (Alliance française of Johannesburg - 17, Lower park Drive Corner Kerry Road, Parkview - booking essential at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

First published in the aftermath of World War II, "The Plague" chronicles the sweeping of Oran, a city of then French Algeria, by the disease. The inhabitants of the city try to find a response, some showing great courage while others endeavour to escape. The text is often read as a metaphor for the various reactions to the brutal occupation of Europe by the Nazis.

Despite Camus' objection to the label, "The Plague" is considered as a classic of existentialist literature, where the irrationality of life sweeps individual ambitions and the "absurd" ultimately triumphs. "The Plague" aims to illustrate how the world ultimately deals with the notion of the"absurd", that is the conflict between the human tendency to seek a meaning in life and the impossibility to ultimately find any. Camus further extended this thinking in "The Rebel", a philosophical essay published a few years after "The Plague".

 

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I'm a writer of the world

Patrick Chamoiseau with Nadine Gordimer during the French Season in South Africa

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