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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Albert Camus's "The Stranger" (1/3) - Lucas Wharton


       The Stranger (or The Outsider) by Albert Camus is on my short list of favorite novels I've ever read. I can't say what provoked me at fifteen to buy the book for a beach trip that I was attending with my church (believe it or not) but I couldn't have picked a better place to have read it. Considering that the denouement of Part 1 takes place on a beach and is a pretty colorful climax leading into some heavy introspection by the main character, Meursault, in the second part of the narrative. I couldn't put the book down that day. I sat under an umbrella for a fews hours and burned through the 123 pages (and my feet) - and then read it again on our drive back home. Needless to say, when I got home I  bought Myth of Sisyphus (his later work that is tied to The Stranger). Regardless, before I go any further on my thoughts of the book, I feel there is a need to discuss the life of Albert Camus leading up to the writing of this book, which was his first novel.
      Camus was born in Mondovi, (French Colonial) Algeria on November 7, 1913. At seventeen he contracted tuberculosis and Camus fought depression because of his illness. However, it didn't stop him from becoming the first major writer to come from modern North Africa and earning a Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1957. He was a phenomenal student as a young man and was later educated at the University of Algiers; receiving his his degree in Religion: "Atheistic Humanism" in 1936. He moved to France where he joined in the French Resistance against Germany in World War II and was a writer for the (at the time) underground newspaper Combat, where he would meet Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. 
       By 1944, when he left Combat, it had become a daily newspaper, he was it's main editor, and he was "was the authentic voice of France's war generation," according to a Time contributor; but he left journalism to focus on his literary works. Amidst his time working for the newspaper, and also as a reader for the Paris-based Gallimard Publishing company, The Stranger was published in 1942 (and in English in 1946). The book is considering his most famous work now, and when it was released Jean-Paul Sartre considered it an instant classic. 
      In my opinion, it's a book that every person should read and for many reasons at that. The most obvious reason is it's not a long read and it's, as R. Barton Palmer wrote, "a slice of the daily routine, devoid of intention and plot as it must be, a procession of events linked only by chronology. Event succeeds event, perception replaces perception, without any values by which the process may be interpreted." It also really poses tough questions to the reader that I feel aren't asked enough. So, hopefully my brief analysis of this incredible work by Camus may sway you to read it one day and maybe explore more of his fantastic books.

1 comment:

  1. "Albert Camus." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2013. Biography in Context. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.
    URL
    https://ezproxy.mtsu.edu/login?url=http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/bic1/BiographiesDetailsPage/BiographiesDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=BIC1&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&display-query=&mode=view&displayGroupName=Biographies&limiter=&currPage=&disableHighlighting=true&displayGroups=&sortBy=&search_within_results=&p=BIC1&action=e&catId=&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CH1000015342&source=Bookmark&u=tel_middleten&jsid=0a17c0e7334f307d4b64cc2f69ee9528

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