“For who would dare to assert that eternal happiness can compensate for a single moment’s human suffering”

For RPE 305 Philosophy and Literature we will be starting off by looking at Albert Camus’ novel The Plague. For your ‘summer reading’, then, you should at the very least read this novel – and more than once if you can! You may then like to read his novella The Stranger, which we will be looking at next.

The Plague can be read at many levels, but I suggest the best way to approach this is to imagine if you are put into a situation where you are trapped in a plague-ridden town and your whole world is turned upside down: you could die at any moment and your friends and loved ones are dying around you. How would you respond? How do the characters in the novel react to this situation? Can you blame them for their actions and who, if anyone, remains ‘true’ to him/herself? 

I would also suggest you familiarise yourself with the basic existential themes. A good starting-point is:
Flynn, Thomas, Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction, OUP (ebook), 2006.

Note this is a library ebookso you can access this on your computer, print it off etc.
Although it has its critics, we will also be looking at a number of passages from Sartre’s Existentialism is a Humanism (E&H), published by Yale University Press.

Feel free to post any of your thought here. 

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