Camus in the time of the coronavirus

Camus à l’heure du coronavirus

The famous novel The plague of the French author Albert Camus is today revealed a powerful news while the whole world is confronted with a pandemic rampant.

We follow in this book, published for the first time in 1947, the citizens of the city of Oran, Algeria, in their fight against a terrible epidemic of plague that drives them to the quarantine. This story is now a renewed relevance, while the COVID-19 imposes its rules and its rate to the population of quebec who finds himself confined in spite of it.

“I think the parallel is the more significant that we can do this is with the idea of the isolation of the human”, has analyzed the author québécois David Goudreault, which takes its confinement to read the biography of Albert Camus written by Olivier Todd.

“In fact it matters little what is the epidemic strikes, the idea is that humans are isolated physically, but also in their beliefs and their habits. What is interesting in reading this book, it is a bit of comparing themselves to the characters. Who is going to act as father Paneloux, who look like the concierge?” he raised with reference to the various paths that it is possible to borrow in times uncertain and difficult.

Revolted optimistic

If the epidemic of plague played havoc everywhere in its path, it would be wrong to see it as a novel, simply serious and without light.

“Camus, despite everything, remains a rebel and a resistant optimistic, said David Goudreault. And this is where I think it is hyper-relevant to the people who will live the anxiety, it is to be remembered if only this quote of Camus, one of the most beautiful, drawn precisely from The plague: “And to say simply what one learns in the midst of the plagues, that there are in men more things to admire than things to despise”.”

“On the social networks, we may see the emergence of racist comments, saying that the Chinese and the pangolins take full the mouth of it at the moment, but there are also many people who worked to publish poems, photos, rainbows, the “it’s going to go,” he continued. I think that all in all, there is more beauty than ugliness in human is expected to emerge, and Camus says that even in the worst situations, the plague or the nazis in his case, we eventually get out of it, and sometimes it comes out grown up.”


Author Véronique Grenier launched also last week a podcast released via his YouTube channel through which it is precisely the reading, to shot sequences of ten minutes each, from the novel of the French author.

“Camus called the things I find, has supported the author, also a professor of philosophy. This is a classic, it is one of the books I think it’s necessary to have read at least once in his life. Everyone is in a context of containment and isolation, so I found that it was paying well. It may be a bit of a cliché, but clichés exist for a reason.”

“I said to myself that it could give an appointment to people on a subject that speaks to us, she continued. And there are several passages that call precisely what you are going through at this time, so we can find it can do good.”

The novel The plague is currently available through the online resources of the libraries of Quebec, and by the platform “to the classics of The social sciences” on

Books online

While the majority of the quebec population is now confined to her home and that all of the libraries have temporarily closed their doors, their digital resources remain as they quite affordable.

More than 850 000 books are offered free of charge to the subscribers of the one or the other of the public libraries of Quebec through the platform PRETNUMERIQUE.CA.

Several activities are also put into place, including platforms of online courses, many educational resources for children, games and many others.