La Peste


I’m having a chance, these days, to rummage through the books I left here at home, when I moved to England five years ago. I found some interesting stuff – my Dostoevskij of course, Rabelais, Cervantes, Grossman, Murakami, Kundera, Baudelaire, some more Mysticism, Sartre, Seneca, Stendhal – and today I bumped into a 1947 French edition of Camus’ La Peste, which I haven’t read. It must have been my mother’s.
Opening the book by chance, here are the words I find:
– After all? Tarrou slowly said.
– After all…, the doctor repeated, and hesitated again, fixing his eyes on Tarrou, it’s a thing that a man like you can understand, isn’t it, but since the order of the world is shaped by death, maybe it would be better for God if we did not believe in him and we fought with all our strength against death, without raising our eyes towards the sky where he stays silent.
– Yes, Tarrou nodded, I can understand. But your victories will always be temporary, that’s all.
Rieux seemed to darken.
– Always, I know. This is not a reason to stop fighting.*(read the original in French below)
I translated the passage, though my French is quite rusty, and there might be some mistake. I don’t know what came before this bit of dialogue and what will follow. I just thought it was an amazing coincidence to read this during these strange days.
 

J

*
– Après tout? dit doucement Tarrou.
– Après tout…, reprit le docteur, et il hésita encore, regardant Tarrou avec attention, c’est une      chose qu’un homme comme vous peut comprendre, n’est-ce pas, mais puisque l’ordre du monde  est réglé par la mort, peut-etre vaut-il mieux pour Dieu qu’on ne croie pas en lui et qu’on lutte de  toutes ses forces contre la mort, sans lever les yeux vers ce ciel où il se tait.
– Oui, approuva Tarrou, je peux comprendre. Mais vos victoires seront toujours provisoires, voilà  tout.
Rieux parut s’assombrir.
– Toujours, je le sais. Ce n’est pas une raison  pour cesser de lutter.


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