chapter  10
Allegorical silence: The Plague as critical literacy act
ByALEXANDRE DESSINGUÉ
Pages 12

Upon publication of The Plague in June 1947, Albert Camus seemed very insecure about the future reception of his work by the public and by the critics. In December 1946 and just after bringing his novel to his editor, Camus wrote to his friend, the writer Louis Guilloux and concluded with these words: ‘Thank you for all your help. I still worked part of the night but I have now submitted the book to the editor. I do not see clearer, but I am free now and I owe you that’ (Camus 2006: 1165).2 The creative process of The Plague had been long and challenging. The narrative of The Plague begins with the mysterious death of rats, and is followed by a strict quarantine of the entire population of the city imposed by unspecified military forces. The whole story focuses on the struggle and resistance against disease, isolation of the population and the death of many patients, men, women and children.