“It has been said that he did extensive research for The Plague. The ‘plague’ is generally taken to be a metaphor or meta-commentary on Nazism during World War II. I’m not necessarily sold on that as the exclusive interpretation of the novel. Other people have argued that he was reading about plagues during the time that he was writing this. But one thing that’s really interesting in the background is that, for at least a period of time while writing the novel, Camus was trying to recover from a bout of tuberculosis and he was staying in a village in southern France in the Free Zone (Vichy). The remarkable events that took place there were the basis for the book called Lest Innocent Blood be Shed by Philip Paul Hallie. In this small, poor, rural village they banded together and pooled their resources to save somewhere between three and five thousand Jews from the Nazis. Camus was in this village as this was happening, as people were hiding, as they were separated from their loved ones, while he himself was separated from his loved ones. So, I’m not sure to what degree the astute nature of his writing can be attributed to his reading about previous plagues, or to his first-hand experience of being bedridden with an illness, embedded in a town where people were hiding from a much more militaristic and malignant sort of ‘plague’.” Read more...
The Best Books by Albert Camus