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By Philip Thody (auth.)

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This makes him popular among his fellow European Algerians, and one of Camus's own favourite characters, the small restaurant-keeper Celeste, comes forward at Technique, Codes and Ambiguity 27 his trial to give evidence on his behalf and say that 'he is a man'. When asked by the lawyers to say precisely what this involves, he replies that 'everyone knows what that means'. The lawyers who represent middle-class soCiety may not understand what he means, but for the reader of Noces, the reference is obvious: And I believe that virtue is a meaningless word throughout the whole of Algeria.

Its ability to provoke so many different interpretations, and arouse so much controversy, shows that Camus established himself, with this book, as a member of that group of French novelists whom he most admired: those whose works constantly bring the reader back to the same issues. Although it can be read primarily as an exercise in narrative technique, it is also a book about values. Camus insisted on this when he wrote in his 1955 preface that it was concerned with 'the truth of what we are and what we feel ...

In a world from which other meanings have disappeared, the only possible aim can be to experience as many conscious physical sensations as you can. In order to do this, you have to live as long as possible, and what Meursault wants to do is spend another thirty years enjoying life in Algiers. In Le My the de Sisyphe, the delight one finds in the apparently minor pleasures which occupy Meursault's attention will be made more intense by the constant awareness of our 32 Albert Camus inevitable death.

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