One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, December 14, 2014

From Camus' "Lyrical Essays"

Reading with some interest. Perhaps a bit too "lyrical" at times (but it's a young Camus); I prefer the passages where he shows (takes me to) a place.

From an essay on Oran (inspiration/location for The Plague):

"Fashionable" Oranians between the ages of sixteen and twenty model their elegance on American movie stars, disguising themselves every night before dinner. With curly, brilliantined hair flowing from under a felt hat pulled down over the left ear while its brim obliterates the right eye, the neck encircled in a collar generous enough to receive the continuation of the hair, the microscopic knot of the tie held in place by the strictest of pins, a jacket hanging half way down the thighs and nipped in at the hips, fight-colored (sic) trousers hanging short, and shoes gleaming above triple soles, these youths click along the sidewalks, sounding their unshakable self-confidence with their steel-tipped shoes. In every detail they attempt to imitate the style, the brashness, the superiority of Mr. Clark Gable. This is why, thanks to their rather careless pronunciation, the town's more critical citizens have nicknamed these young men "The Clarques."
     In any case, the main boulevards of Oran are invaded late every afternoon by an army of amiable adolescents who take the greatest pains to look like gangsters. Since the young girls know they have been destined since birth to marry these tender-hearted ruffians, they too flaunt the make-up and elegance of the great American actresses. The same cynics consequently christen them "Marlenes." Thus, when on the evening boulevards the chirping of birds rises from the palm trees to the sky, scores of Clarques and Marlenes meet, and size each other up appreciatively, happy to be alive and  to make believe, indulging for an hour in the bliss of perfect existences.  
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