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Delicious descriptions from Down Under: Albert Camus on the sun

February 27, 2011

As I’m an Australian litblogger, I intend my Delicious Descriptions from Down Under to be primarily of Down Under. However, as we in the southern hemisphere come to the end of summer, as my first two Delicious Descriptions were on the sun and, as I am re-reading Albert CamusThe plague, I can’t resist sharing a Camus description of the sun.

Frowning Sun

Courtesy: OCAL via

Here he is on Oran:

… summer blazed out above the house-tops. First a strong, scorching wind blew steadily for a whole day, drying up the walls. And then the sun took charge, incessant waves of heat and light swept the town daylong, and but for arcaded streets and the interiors of houses, everything lay naked to the dazzling impact of the light. The sun stalked our townsfolk along every byway, into every nook, and when they paused it struck.

This is Camus … so the sun has more than a literal role in this novel. But, at the literal level, I will simply add that I know that Australia is not the only “sunburnt place” in the world. And this, I think, is an effective description of another sunburnt place.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2011 20:04

    The more you write about these places with what, for me, would be unbearable heat and light, the more I find myself becoming reconciled to wet, soggy English springs:)

    • February 27, 2011 23:35

      Haha, Annie … just as well we live in our small corners of the world, eh, cos while I like the greens of England, I love our warm (hot even) suns and blue skies!

  2. February 27, 2011 22:58

    Who are you trying to fool? You just can’t resist Camus 😉

  3. February 28, 2011 13:15

    I’ve lived in Queensland all my life and still can’t get used to the really hot humid days! I love a bit of overcast weather, but the winter sun is my favorite.

    • February 28, 2011 13:46

      Oh I’d agree Fiona. I’m Queensland born, but spent my best Queensland years in the west, in Mt Isa. I love dry (or at least drier) heat … and love to visit Queensland in the winter. Humid heat – no, I draw the line at that.

  4. February 28, 2011 16:34

    Camus writes the sun like nobody else. The sun could have been regarded as an accessory to the murder in The Outsider. Such intensity and vividness.

    • February 28, 2011 18:01

      You are right Mae. It’s certainly powerful. And I love it (his writing that is).

  5. February 28, 2011 22:47

    Ah yes, a quite familiar, lovely description of my non-Down Under sun… If your summer is now coming to a close, mine is most likely going to begin within the next week (and no, I don’t mean spring… I mean summer, with a sun like that indeed delicious Camus description). What a wonderful quote.

    • March 1, 2011 08:24

      Ah, now where is your sun, that you launch straight into it? Anyhow, thanks for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the quote … will pop by your blog later today.

  6. March 1, 2011 07:23

    It’s been ages since I’ve read Camus and you have just reminded me what a good writer he is. I almost felt warmer there for a second. It’s about -6 degrees C here at the moment so that’s saying something!

    • March 1, 2011 08:14

      Thanks Stefanie … it’s been awhile for me too, and I am relishing it and wanting to read more of the books I have hear BUT how much time to spend rereading!

      Today is the first day of autumn. I love autumn but it means winter is coming. So glad it’s not a winter like yours! I’m glad Camus “almost” made you feel warmer”!

  7. March 4, 2011 06:04

    I remember reading the Plague and enjoying it greatly – although quite a few years ago now. My sister in law moved to Perth a couple of years ago and she and her husband are really feeling the heat (40 degrees centigrade and over). I’m not sure I could take that.

    Sorry for now returning comments lately. I can’t think why life is so full – although I am now retired.

    • March 4, 2011 08:42

      Thanks for commenting Tom … I prefer the heat to cold and rain, but that doesn’t mean I want a string of days in the high 30s low 40s! As for life being full … I commented on Lisa’s blog in response to kimbofo that retirement hasn’t resulted in my reading more books as I expected. I guess people who lived busy, engaged work lives tend to transfer that to their retired lives so that all that “free” leisure somehow isn’t quite what we thought it would be.

  8. March 6, 2011 12:47

    Hi again,

    I was just reading a Thomas Shapcott lecture from 1963 and I read a sentence that for some reason reminded me of this post, so I thought I would share it with you. He is writing about the poetry scene in Melbourne and he says:

    “Melbourne has a colder, more guarded and cautious climate – no splendid Harbour in the centre of things to take one’s mind off the drabness and over-allness of suburbia, or the fascination of one’s self. And, it seems, not many bright sunny days to make one sing spontaneously. But they say good weather is the enemy of intellect in Australia. Melbourne poets are nearly all intellectuals”.

    from “The Younger Australian Poets: Lecture 25th June 1963”.

    Have a great Sunday!

    • March 6, 2011 21:38

      Oh good one … there’s a lovely sting in the tail there! Thanks so much for remembering this post and coming back. Sometimes I remember posts but can’t for the heck of me recollect which blogger it was. Sound like an interesting lecture.

      Oh, and I did have a lovely Sunday … out in the country where it’s greener than usual and the dams are full. Hope you did too.

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