The writing of this text, which began in 1938, but was particularly intensive immediately after the completion of The Myth of Sisyphus (February 1941), was completed at the turn of 1946-1947. Camus, acutely experiencing the difficulties of creating the novel, almost refused to publish it. In the fall of 1946, a distinctive entry appeared in Notebooks reflecting the writer's deep doubts and his vague apprehension of creative success: “Plague. Never in my life have I experienced such a feeling of failure. I'm not even sure that I will reach the end. And yet sometimes ... "
Work on The Plague progressed extremely slowly. The effort absorbed the fruits of serious changes in the writer's ideological position, predetermined by the tragic events of European history of 1939-1945; Camus's endeavor reflected the intense aesthetic quest of the novelist, closely connected with the internal logic of his philosophical thought. The creative history of the Plague, a novel universally perceived as a chronicle of the “European resistance to Nazism,” and to everybody of totalitarianism, is a peculiar chronicle of the spiritual evolution of its author.
The first notes on the novel relate to 1938, and the first edition of the novel was completed in January 1943. From 1947, when the novel was published, to today, it has been regarded as a brilliant example of the literature of absurd.