An excerpt from The Plague:

and, as it so happens, what has yet to be recorded before coming to the culmination, during the period when the plague was gathering all its forces to fling them at the town and lay it waste, is the long, heartrendingly monotonous struggle put up by some obstinate people like Rombert to recover their lost happiness and to balk the plague of that part of themselves which they were ready to descend in the last ditch.

I don't understand the bold part. What does"that part"refer?

  • 3
    For what it's worth, I'm a college-educated native speaker and I didn't have a clue what this meant either. I think this is a bad translation.
    – TypeIA
    Feb 16 '21 at 12:11
  • @TypeIA agreed. We have had other questions about the same translation, and it's necessary to go back to the original text to find out what Camus actually wrote. The translator's rather formal style is incompatible with Camus' more poetic and lyrical style.
    – JavaLatte
    Feb 17 '21 at 6:23

That passage is from this translation (p68) and this is the original text (p131):

Et justement ce qui reste à retracer avant d'en arriver au sommet de la peste, pendant que le fléau réunissait toutes ses forces pour les jeter sur la ville et s'en emparer définitivement, ce sont les longs efforts désespérés et monotones que les derniers individus, comme Rambert, faisaient pour retrouver leur bonheur et ôter à la peste cette part d'eux-mêmes qu'ils défendaient contre toute atteinte.

Here is a more literal translation:

And exactly what remains to be recorded before arriving at peak of the plague, while the plague gathered all its strength to throw at the city and finally seize them, are the long, desperate and monotonous efforts that the last individuals, like Rambert, did to regain their happiness and to deprive the plague of the part of themselves that they defended against any attack.

I guess that "the part of themselves that they defended against any attack" might be described as their morale.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .