Tag: L’Étranger

The Stranger by Albert Camus

Posted July 19, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Classic / 3 Comments

The Stranger by Albert CamusTitle: The Stranger (Goodreads)
Author: Albert Camus
Translator: Matthew Ward
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 1942
Pages: 123
Genres: Classic
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: Amazon (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

L’Étranger, known as The Outsider, or The Stranger by Albert Camus offers an interesting perspective of the philosophical movement; existentialism. Though, as a stand alone novel, it was very simple and uneventful. You need to read this book for its philosophical merit or not read it at all. Previously, I wrote a post about this book and The Cure song Killing An Arab, in which I talked about how the book covered topics like; absurdism, atheism, determinism, existentialism, nihilism, and stoicism.

I thought I needed to read the book and try to understand the connections. The book does an interesting job at covering this issues without being too noticeable. Sure, if you spend your time digesting or picking apart books, you are sure to notice it, but if you are reading the book just for the story, then you may miss the complexity of the story.

It is unusual to read a book that has a complexity to it, but still tells the story too simply. It might have lost some of its density when translated from French to English. I just look for more substance in my books, so I was a little disappointed.


Killing An Arab

Posted March 7, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Philosophy / 0 Comments

The debut single from UK Goth greats; The Cure was Killing An Arab. Robert Smith calls the song a “short poetic attempt at condensing my impression of the key moments in L’Étranger (The Stranger) by Albert Camus”. The song tells the story of the scene on the beach where the protagonist Meursault shots the Arab attacker. The Stranger (also known as The Outsider) covers philosophical concepts like) absurdism, atheism, determinism, existentialism, nihilism, and stoicism.

One interesting concept in this book and the main reason I want to read it, is the fact that Meursault chooses not to lie. In the afterword Camus stats;

[Meursault] refuses to lie. Lying is not only saying what isn’t true. It is also, in fact especially, saying more than is true and in the case of the human heart, saying more than one feels. We all do it, every day, to make life simpler.

The best example of people lying would be the typical conversations

“How have you been?”

“Fine”

The response “Fine” is hardly ever true and is just avoiding the real issues you are going through. But in the same conversation; how many people ask “How have you been?” and not really cared one way or another, just using it as a conversation starter.