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The Stranger by Albert Camus
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The Stranger (original 1942; edition 1988)

by Albert Camus

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
23,05625650 (3.97)1 / 405
Member:JYabuki
Title:The Stranger
Authors:Albert Camus
Info:Knopf (1988), Hardcover, 144 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942)

  1. 270
    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. 180
    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. 83
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (SanctiSpiritus)
  5. 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.
  6. 51
    Notes from Underground by Fedor Mikhaïlovitch Dostoïevski (hiddenpunk)
  7. 30
    The Man Who Watched Trains Go By by Georges Simenon (thorold)
    thorold: Respectable bourgeois discovers absurdity of life and commits motiveless crime.
  8. 30
    Barabbas by Pär Lagerkvist (Troddel)
  9. 41
    Whatever by Michel Houellebecq (sanddancer)
  10. 11
    The Fall by Albert Camus (chrisharpe)
  11. 00
    The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrere (bertilak)
  12. 11
    The Family of Pascual Duarte by Camilo Jose Cela (thatguyzero)
  13. 01
    Cosmos by Witold Gombrowicz (Bitter_Grace)
  14. 13
    The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick by Peter Handke (lewbs)
  15. 59
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (SanctiSpiritus)
  16. 05
    Just Revenge : A Novel by Alan M. Dershowitz (LCBrooks)
    LCBrooks: Complementary works that create a powerful foundation for a philosophical debate on revenge.
  17. 617
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (Sylak)
    Sylak: Similar in feel and with the same sense of futility throughout.
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English (226)  Spanish (8)  French (7)  Italian (3)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (2)  Dutch (2)  Danish (2)  English (1)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (256)
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
Really short and simple book, but so good. Makes you think about life, time and what are we doing with it without making a big deal out it. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | May 14, 2015 |
The Stranger (also known as The Outsider or L’Étranger) tells the story of Meursault, an unsympathetic French Algerian, who after attending his mother’s funeral, finds himself killing an Arab man. The novel follows a first-person narrative that explores the events before and after this murder. Albert Camus said is best when he said “I summarised The Stranger a long time ago, with a remark I admit was highly paradoxical: ‘In our society any man who does not weep at his mother’s funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.’ I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game.”

On the surface The Stranger is the story of an emotionless protagonist; Meursault does not care about anything and could be considered a sociopath. However, this novel is often cited as an example of Camus’ philosophy on the absurd and existentialism. So in order to fully grasp the intent behind this classic novel, we must look into just what existentialism is and more practically absurdism.

The absurd is often referring to the conflicting philosophy that humans have a tendency to seek out value and meaning in life. However absurdism believes it is logically and humanly impossible to find any meaning of life. Philosophers may have very different doctrines but they generally believe that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject. Though existentialism comes from the disorientation or confusion that we are living in a meaningless (or absurd) world.

For Albert Camus, The Stranger is an exploration into the meaning of life and if life has no meaning what is the purpose of morality. Meursault’s detachment from the world is a result of his conclusion that life is meaningless; “The chaplain knew the game well too, I could tell right away: his gaze never faltered. And his voice didn’t falter, either, when he said, ‘Have you no hope at all? And do you really live with the thought that when you die, you die, and nothing remains?’ ‘Yes,’ I said.” Paradoxically, it was only after being sentenced to death, that Meursault was able to obtain some sense of happiness.

Without an understanding of Albert Camus’ philosophical ideas, I do not think that the reader will have any hope in truly understand or appreciating this novel. However I have heard that The Stranger has been an option for high school students (especially in America) to study. I wonder how many students fall into the trap of picking this novel thinking it was short only to discover how difficult it is to analyse. I do not have enough of an understanding of absurdism or existential philosophy to full appreciate The Stranger. However re-reading this novel has helped me understand this enough to enjoy the Camus’ philosophical ideas.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2015/05/02/the-stranger-by-albert-camus/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | May 5, 2015 |
Não falta quem chame Meursault de sociopata ou psicopata. Fixar etiquetas, afinal, torna a vida mais simples. Mas o pobre Camus deve revolver-se no túmulo ao ouvir isso. Ele usou de enorme clareza de espírito para escrever a mais clara das prosas, sobre um homem de mal com a vida. Ao ler sua história, somos levados a pensar não só acerca de nossa própria vida, mas também nas de quase toda a sociedade. Na literatura do absurdo - da qual L’Étranger é o modelo mais - em lugar da rebelião dos meios, acontece a pura ausência de fim, de qualquer fim (José Guilherme Merquior). "Les hommes aussi sécretent de l’inhumain", diz Camus em Le Mythe de Sisyphe, e o inumano segregado é a consciência passiva, mecânica, que renunciou a elaborar significações e portanto a designar finalidades. O homem que constata o absurdo renuncia a todos os projetos; não reconhece mais nenhuma finalidade. O herói do mundo fantástico, entretanto, continua perseguindo os fins num universo que a insolência dos meios torna hostil, torna cruel, torna indecifrável – mas não absurdo. Podemos fechar nossas mentes para os problemas de Mersault, mas estaremos então evitando abri-los ao que Camus estava tentando dizer. Nada de psicologia pop, por favor, ela é uma inimiga do pensamento! ( )
  jgcorrea | Apr 24, 2015 |
I admit that I wasn't very jazzed with this book at the conclusion with part 1 but, part 2 more than made up for it. There was almost a cumulative cadence that progressed the story from boring, to mildly amusing, to interesting, to fascinating, and finishing with absolutely essential. And at the conclusion, I felt vindicated and renewed; with a deep connection to Meursault. In that spirit of renewal and kinship, I realized that every part of the story leading up this was necessary and important.

I could even go so far as to say that The Stranger is life affirming. And in the telling of it, the author gave me the strength to accept my own mortality with striking clearness. What at first seemed to be annoying indifference blossomed into stark existentialism that gives me personal insight. This book is a masterpiece in every way (from the literary to the philosophical)! ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
A surprisingly straightforward read for someone with little better than intermediate level school French. A short novel written in simple prose. But the simplicity hides the complexity of the principal character and his story. It just shows that ideas are as important as writing talent for a novelist. ( )
  Steve38 | Mar 4, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 226 (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 (149 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
Gilbert, StuartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goyert, GeorgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, BarnabyPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laredo, JamesTranslatorsecondary 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
Valente, José ÁngelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, MatthewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zevi, AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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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

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 8 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 13 descriptions

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