Narrative Medicine Book Club: April 8, 2020

I’m curious to hear what readers make of the priest’s sermon, which goes on for four pages, quite a bit of real estate in the novel! What comment might Camus be making here about the ways the plague can potentially be moralized? The priest literally says ‘my brethren, you have deserved it’ – he likens them to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, to the population before the flood (and who else shivered at the reference to Lombardy, Italy, ‘ravaged by a plague’), implying that the plague has been visited on them because of their sins, then arguing that somehow, “‘through the paths of death, anguish and sighs, [it] still guides us toward the silence of God and the principle of all life.'” I wonder what will come of this sermon in the rest of the book, if it is here to show us an example of how suffering can be “used” in various ways, or if Camus will take it back up later and somehow show this thinking to be untrue (Perhaps Paneloux himself will get sick)? 

FOR TOMORROW: Read next 7 pages, to end of the paragraph that begins “On the other hand, when Tarrou came back…” 

2 thoughts on “Narrative Medicine Book Club: April 8, 2020

  1. Julie

    Is anyone using the Modern Library College Editions paperback? The one with the plain purple and white cover with “the plague” in lower case? I got behind and am wondering what the page number is for the end of the reading section for 05/08.
    Thanks so much!


  2. Patricia D.

    Recall that Camus was an atheist – in a very Catholic France.
    Notice references to the weather before and after this sermon. Camus uses “climate” to forshadow what is happening or coming.The rain batters the windows as the priest blames humans for their sins. A wet (humid in FR) wind was sweeping up the nave, making the candle-flames bend and flicker. The rain stopped at the end of the sermon.
    How striking is the referral to the plague in Lombardie, Italy!! given what is happening there now.


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