Sunday, April 12, 2020

COOTIES: WISDOM FROM ANOTHER ERA



Published 1948


To write this novel, Camus is said to have thoroughly researched plague throughout the ages.


For in the stillness, and for the troubled hearts of our townsfolk, anything, even the least sound, had a heightened significance.

The newspapers and the authorities are playing ball with the plague.

Officialdom can never cope with something really catastrophic.

The weekly total (of victims) showed a decrease. Our fellow citizens now began to talk of the new order of life that would set in after the plague.

All agreed that the amenities of the past couldn't be restored at once; destruction is an easier, speedier process than reconstruction.

Never before had the sky been so blue; day after day its icy radiance flooded the town with a brilliant light, and in each of three consecutive weeks a big drop in the death-roll was announced. Thus over a relatively brief period the disease lost practically all the gains piled up over many months.

It was as if the plague had been hounded down and cornered... the epidemic was in retreat all along the line. 

All that could be said was that the disease seemed to be leaving as unaccountably as it had come. Our strategy had not changed, but whereas yesterday it had obviously failed, today it seemed triumphant. 

Indeed, one's chief impression was that the epidemic had called a retreat after reaching all its objectives; it had, so to speak, achieved its purpose.