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The Outsider by Albert Camus
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The Outsider (original 1942; edition 2000)

by Albert Camus

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24,64330944 (3.96)1 / 514
Member:mark
Title:The Outsider
Authors:Albert Camus
Info:Gardners Books (2000), Paperback
Collections:Your library, Favorites, Read in 2013
Rating:*****
Tags:literature, france, read, reread, 20th, algeria, pre-2008, translation, twice, 2013, extreme wonderfulness, boxg

Work details

The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942)

  1. 320
    The Trial by Franz Kafka (chrisharpe, DLSmithies)
    DLSmithies: Two protagonists on trial without really understanding what they're being accused of - it's just a question of degree.
  2. 191
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (chrisharpe, DLSmithies, edelpao)
    DLSmithies: A compare-and-contrast exercise - Raskolnikov is all nervous energy and hypertension, whereas Meursault is detatched, calm, and won't pretend to feel remorse. Two masterpieces.
  3. 93
    Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre (roby72)
  4. 72
    No Exit and Three Other Plays by Jean-Paul Sartre (Hollerama)
    Hollerama: I read both works in French class. Though Albert Camus denied being an existentialist, both L'Étranger (The Stranger) and Huis Clos (No Exit) have some common themes and are among some of the most important 20th century French works of literature.
  5. 61
    Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (hiddenpunk)
  6. 50
    The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud (Philosofiction)
  7. 94
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (SanctiSpiritus)
  8. 40
    The Man Who Watched Trains Go By by Georges Simenon (thorold)
    thorold: Respectable bourgeois discovers absurdity of life and commits motiveless crime.
  9. 41
    Whatever by Michel Houellebecq (sanddancer)
  10. 30
    Barabbas by Pär Lagerkvist (Troddel)
  11. 21
    The Fall by Albert Camus (chrisharpe)
  12. 00
    The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrère (bertilak)
  13. 11
    The Family of Pascual Duarte by Camilo José Cela (thatguyzero)
  14. 11
    At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others by Sarah Bakewell (JuliaMaria)
  15. 00
    She Came to Stay by Simone de Beauvoir (JuliaMaria)
  16. 01
    Cosmos by Witold Gombrowicz (Bitter_Grace)
  17. 14
    The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick by Peter Handke (lewbs)
  18. 06
    Just Revenge : A Novel by Alan M. Dershowitz (LCBrooks)
    LCBrooks: Complementary works that create a powerful foundation for a philosophical debate on revenge.
  19. 511
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (SanctiSpiritus)
  20. 818
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (Sylak)
    Sylak: Similar in feel and with the same sense of futility throughout.

(see all 20 recommendations)

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English (268)  French (9)  Spanish (8)  Italian (6)  Dutch (5)  Portuguese (2)  Danish (2)  German (2)  Finnish (2)  Hebrew (1)  English (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  English (308)
Showing 1-5 of 268 (next | show all)
This book read to me very much like the study of an autistic man. He is totally unaffected by the lives, feelings and thoughts of the people that surround him. His life is shaped by them, but he has no real feeling of connection to anyone or anything. He is just as happy at home in his apartment as he is sitting in a jail cell. Even to people who should know him well, he is a stranger. ( )
  Basicworm | Nov 26, 2016 |
Paragraph one.

There is a tricolon with the words “today”, “tomorrow” and “yesterday” but noticed that while “yesterday” is the final word, “today” is not the first. This struck me as an artistic inaccuracy so I looked at the French text (I read Laredo's translation) and found that there the paragraph is bracketed correctely. It's worth noting this interest in time as you read the rest of the book. There is an interesting essay on the first sentence here:

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/lost-in-translation-what-the-first-li...

Also, that sentence “That doesn't mean anything.” To which statement does it relate? The day of her death or the fact of it?

And this is JUST THE FIRST PARAGRAPH. The whole book is packed like this. No wonder it's short. Camus must have been exhausted. ( )
  Lukerik | Nov 23, 2016 |
I read this book because it is set in Algeria but of course that is not an important part of the book especially because the book is about meaninglessness. It is a book of philosophy. Camus considered himself a philosopher of the absurd. This book is exactly that rather absurd. There is a lot of things that speak of death; the old decaying dog, the funeral of the narrator's mother and the killing. the trial. Is there any meaning to life. Mostly the main character is passive, he doesn't love or hate anything. He just exists. The other characters are more typical of people we all know and in the story, they appear crazy compared to Meursault.

Quotes:
"Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: “Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow." According to the translater, Matthew Ward, it is important that the first line be translated Maman rather than mother as this is closer to the what Camus was trying to say in French with the first sentence. The first sentence also gives us the feeling of indifference and of meaningless of life/death.

"Everything is true and nothing is true" an absurd statement made at the trial. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 5, 2016 |
Read it in college, and surprisingly enjoyed it. ( )
  anastaciaknits | Oct 29, 2016 |
”Străinul”, roman apărut în prima sa ediție în anul 1942, face parte din reprezentarea absurdului în viziunea lui Albert Camus. Meursault, pe care îl vom numi în continuare domnul M. din pricina comodității subsemnatei, este pus în fața unor situații de viață relativ normale, pe care el însă reușește să le transforme în iluzia excepționalului.
”Astăzi a murit mama.”, este fraza ce deschide romanul. În ciuda așteptărilor noastre, autorul nu ilustrează o dramă a personajului. Mama recent decedată, își petrecuse ultimii ani din viață la un azil de bătrâni, nu își mai văzuse fiul de peste trei ani și moare aparent de bătrânețe. Domnul M. nu resimte niciuna din aceste drame, ci le trăiește la un nivel spiritual cumva superficial pentru oamenii din jurul lui care se așteaptă la o durere devastatoare implicită evenimentului.După înmormântarea mamei sale, domnul M, se duce la piscină și la film cu Maria fără să anticipeze consecințele faptelor sale pe care le considera nevinovate și lipsite de importanță. Viața personajului continuă cursul monoton fără nici o schimbare evidentă, ba chiar M. leagă o prietenie cu unul din vecinii de palier, Raymond, proxenet violent cu concubina sa, fiindu-i frică de fratele femeii care îl căuta pentru a își răzbuna sora. Raymond îl invita pe M. și pe prietena acestuia, Maria, la o vacanță pe plajă, unde are loc o altercație între Raymond și fratele arab al tinerei lui curtezane. Evenimentele evoluează de așa fel încât M. ajunge să îl împuște pe arab cu 4 gloanțe, pentru a se apăra. La verdictul acestei crime absurde participă în deosebi faptele ce au precedat incidentul. Acesta este acuzat că nu a plâns la înmormântarea mamei sale, că s-a distrat cu Maria la un film de comedie deși era în doliu, că se împrietenise cu Raymond care avea o moralitate îndoielnică și un caracter violent. Faptul că împușcase un om, devine o consecință imediată și evidentă în fața juraților și este condamnat la moarte pentru că nu s-a conformat moravurilor societății sale. Forțat să își împlinească pedeapsa, M. nu răspunde nici măcar chemării spre mântuire a preotului, a cărei prezență îl irită.
”Ar mai fi vrut să –mi vorbească, dar eu m-am apropiat de el și am încercat să-i explic pentru ultima oară că nu-mi mai rămânea decât puțin timp. Nu vroiam să îl pierd cu Dumnezeu.(…)”
”Nu fiule (…) sunt cu tine dar nu poți să știi asta pentru că ți-e sufletul orbit. Mă voi ruga pentru tine ”
”Atunci, nu știu de ce, s-a rupt ceva în mine. Am început să urlu din toate puterile, l-am insultat și i-am spus să nu se roage.”
În ultimele clipe, M. își imaginează ușurarea mamei sale în fața morții pe care acum o consideră o eliberare spre un nou început. Din această perspectivă, nimeni nu avea dreptul să o plângă pe mama sa așa cum nu aveau dreptul să îl plângă nici pe el pentru șansa de a fi eliberat din șirul absurdului social care, combinat cu dragostea Mariei și monotonia vieții, devenise greu de suportat.
”…în fața acestei nopți încărcate de semne și de stele, mă deschideam pentru prima oară tandrei indiferențe a lumii”. ( )
  IrinaMariaTracy | Oct 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 268 (next | show all)
It is quite a trick to write of life & death, as Camus does, in terms of an almost total social and moral vacuum. He may get philosophical satisfaction from it. Most readers will call it philosophic doodling.
added by Shortride | editTime (May 20, 1946)
 
"The Stranger,” a novel of crime and punishment by Albert Camus, published today, should touch off in this country a renewed burst of discussion about the young French writers who are at the moment making more unusual literary news than the writers of any other country.
 

» Add other authors (67 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Camus, Albertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bree, GermaineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brenner, Hans GeorgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, Marc J.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunwoodie, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, StuartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goyert, GeorgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, BarnabyPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laredo, JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lionni, LeoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynnes, Carlos, Jr.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, SusanArt directorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morriën, AdriaanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stolpe, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Urculo, EduardoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valente, José ÁngelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, MatthewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watkins, LiselotteCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zevi, AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Mother died today. (Stuart Gilbert translation)
Maman died today. (Matthew Ward translation)
Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas.
Quotations
And I, too, felt ready to start life all over again. It was if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I'd been happy, and that I was happy still.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Book description
Since it was first published in English, in 1946, Albert Camus's first novel, THE STRANGER (l'étranger), has had a profound impact on millions of American readers. Through this story of an ordinary man who unwittingly gets drawn into a senseless murder on a sun-drenched Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd."

Now, in an illuminating new American translation, extraordinary for its exactitude and clarity, the original intent of THE STRANGER is made more immediate. This haunting novel has been given a new life for generations to come.
Haiku summary
Je suis étranger.

Aujourd'hui, maman est morte.

Et je ne pleure pas.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679720200, Paperback)

The Stranger is not merely one of the most widely read novels of the 20th century, but one of the books likely to outlive it. Written in 1946, Camus's compelling and troubling tale of a disaffected, apparently amoral young man has earned a durable popularity (and remains a staple of U.S. high school literature courses) in part because it reveals so vividly the anxieties of its time. Alienation, the fear of anonymity, spiritual doubt--all could have been given a purely modern inflection in the hands of a lesser talent than Camus, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957 and was noted for his existentialist aesthetic. The remarkable trick of The Stranger, however, is that it's not mired in period philosophy.

The plot is simple. A young Algerian, Meursault, afflicted with a sort of aimless inertia, becomes embroiled in the petty intrigues of a local pimp and, somewhat inexplicably, ends up killing a man. Once he's imprisoned and eventually brought to trial, his crime, it becomes apparent, is not so much the arguably defensible murder he has committed as it is his deficient character. The trial's proceedings are absurd, a parsing of incidental trivialities--that Meursault, for instance, seemed unmoved by his own mother's death and then attended a comic movie the evening after her funeral are two ostensibly damning facts--so that the eventual sentence the jury issues is both ridiculous and inevitable.

Meursault remains a cipher nearly to the story's end--dispassionate, clinical, disengaged from his own emotions. "She wanted to know if I loved her," he says of his girlfriend. "I answered the same way I had the last time, that it didn't mean anything but that I probably didn't." There's a latent ominousness in such observations, a sense that devotion is nothing more than self-delusion. It's undoubtedly true that Meursault exhibits an extreme of resignation; however, his confrontation with "the gentle indifference of the world" remains as compelling as it was when Camus first recounted it. --Ben Guterson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:42 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A young Algerian, Meursault, afflicted with a sort of aimless inertia, becomes embroiled in the petty intrigues of a local pimp and, somewhat inexplicably, ends up killing a man. Once he's imprisoned and eventually brought to trial, his crime, it becomes apparent, is not so much the arguably defensible murder he has committed as it is his deficient character. In the story of an ordinary man who unwittingly gets drawn into a senseless murder on a sun-drenched Algerian beach, Camus was exploring what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd". Now in a new American translation, the classic has been given new life for generations to come.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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