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Old 01-05-2006, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Huntingdon, England
Posts: 170
Re: Albert Camus - The Stranger
Originally Posted by Strangelet
Which is to say it shouldn't seem pointless...
Erm.. that is the "point"... it is pointless!! It's intended to be pointless.

Anyways, Sartre's Nausea browbeats The Stranger to a bloody pulp... in the sense that Sartre's ability to present a rising up of meaning out of absurd, meaningless surroundings and events in the story is not only more significant, but more interesting as well. It is all just a matter of taste, of course.

Can't believe I forgot to mention Nausea.

OK, enough exegetical banter.
[COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]my beat crusades, crusades for truth and justice[/COLOR]
Old 01-09-2006, 07:07 PM
rico suave
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: lost in a romance
Posts: 815
Re: Albert Camus - The Stranger
Originally Posted by *_*
Erm.. that is the "point"... it is pointless!! It's intended to be pointless.
Ahhh ok, so when you said

Originally Posted by *_*
unless you have a pretty solid understanding of Camus' 'The Myth of Sisyphus', as well as absurdism and existentialism .... The Stranger' prolly seems pointless.
you meant to say, being ignorant of his pointmaking of pointlessness, the pointlessness is even more pointless, so the point Camus makes is even more pointedly pointless?


we'll have to agree to disagree on who would win who in an existential death match between camus and sartre...
"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it."

- Mark Twain

Old 02-28-2006, 09:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2
Re: Albert Camus - The Stranger
Josef Johnson "Man Isolated: The Stranger" 1/14/05

The man is the man who does not hesitate to draw the inevitable conclusions from a fundamental absurdity.
Primary absurdity manifests a cleavage, the cleavage between man's aspirations to unity and the insurmountable dualism of mind and nature, between man's drive toward the eternal and the finite character of his existence, between the which constitutes his very essence and the vanity of his efforts. Chance, death, the irreducible pluralism of life and of truth, the unintelligibility of the real these are extremes of the absurd.
These are not really very new themes, and Camus does not present them as such. They had been sounded as early as the seventeenth century by a certain kind of dry, plain, contemplative rationalism, which is typically French and they served as the commonplaces of classical pessimism. (p. 109)
By virtue of the cool style of The Myth of Sisyphus and the subject of his essays, Albert Camus takes his place in the great tradition of those French moralists whom Andler has rightly termed the precursors of Nietzsche.
As to the doubts raised by Camus about the scope of our reasoning powers, these are in the most recent tradition of French epistemology.... Camus shows off a bit by quoting passages from Jaspers, Heidegger and Kierkegaard, whom, by the way, he does not always seem to have quite understood. But his real masters are to be found elsewhere.
The turn of his reasoning, the clarity of his ideas, the cut of his expository style and a certain kind of solar, ceremonious, and sad sombreness, all indicate a classic temperament, a man of the Mediterranean. His very method through a balance of evidence and lyricism shall we attain a combination of emotion and recalls the old of Pascal and Rousseau and relate him, for example, not to a German phenomenologist or a Danish existentialist, but rather to Maurras, that other Mediterranean from whom, however, he differs in many respects.
But Camus would probably be willing to grant all this. To him, originality means pursuing one's ideas to the limit; it certainly does not mean making a collection of pessimistic maxims. The absurd, to be sure, resides neither in man nor in the world, if you consider each separately. But since man's dominant characteristic is the absurd is, in the end, an inseparable part of the human condition. Thus, the absurd is not, to begin with, the object of a mere idea; it is revealed to us in a doleful illumination. up, tram, four hours of work, meal, sleep, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, in the same (Sisyphus), and then, suddenly, setting and we find ourselves in a state of hopeless lucidity.
If we are able to refuse the misleading aid of religion or of existential philosophies, we then possess certain basic, obvious facts: the world is chaos, a equivalence born of tomorrow does not exist, since we all die. a universe suddenly deprived of light and illusions, man feels himself a stranger. This exile is irrevocable, since he has no memories of a lost homeland and no hope of a promised The reason is that man is not the world.... This explains, in part, the title of our novel; the stranger is man confronting the world. Camus might as well have chosen the title of one of George Gissing's works, Born in Exile. The stranger is also man among men. are days when ... you find that the person you've loved has become a The stranger is, finally, myself in relation to myself, that is, natural man in relation to mind: stranger who, at certain moments, confronts us in a (The Myth of Sisyphus).
But that is not all; there is a passion of the absurd. The absurd man will not commit suicide; he wants to live, without relinquishing any of his certainty, without a future, without hope, without illusion, and without resignation either. He stares at death with passionate attention and this fascination liberates him. He experiences the of the condemned man.
Since God does not exist and man dies, everything is permissible.... absurd man, rebellious and irresponsible, has to He is innocent, innocent as Somerset Maugham's savages before the arrival of the clergyman who teaches them Good and Evil, what is lawful and what is forbidden.
And now we fully understand the title of Camus's novel. The stranger he wants to portray is precisely one of those terrible innocents who shock society by not accepting the rules of its game. He lives among outsiders, but to them, too, he is a stranger.... And we ourselves, who, on opening the book are not yet familiar with the feeling of the absurd, vainly try to judge him according to our usual standards. For us, too, he is a stranger....
[You] probably hoped that as you progressed your uneasiness would fade, that everything would be slowly clarified, would be given a reasonable justification and explained. Your hopes were disappointed. The Stranger is not an explanatory book. The absurd man does not explain; he describes. Nor is it a book which proves anything.
Camus is simply presenting something and is not concerned with a justification of what is fundamentally unjustifiable. (p. 111)
Camus does not require that attentive solicitude that writers who sacrificed their lives to demand of the reader, The Stranger is a leaf from his life. And since the most absurd life is that which is most sterile, his novel aims at being magnificently sterile. Art is an act of unnecessary generosity. We need not be over-disturbed by this; I find, hidden beneath Camus's paradoxes, some of Kant's wise observations on the of the beautiful. Such, in any case, is The Stranger, a work detached from a life, unjustified and unjustifiable, sterile, momentary, already forsaken by its author, abandoned for other present things. And that is how we must accept it, as a brief communion between two men, the author and the reader, beyond reason, in the realm of the absurd.
This will give us some idea as to how we are to regard the hero of The Stranger. If Camus had wanted to write a novel with a purpose, he would have had no difficulty in showing a civil servant lording it over his family, and then suddenly struck with the intuition of the absurd, struggling against it for a while and finally resolving to live out the fundamental absurdity of his condition. The reader would have been convinced along with the character, and for the same reasons.
Or else, he might have related the life of one of those saints of the Absurd, so dear to his heart, of whom he speaks in The Myth of Sisyphus: Don Juan, the Actor, the Conqueror, the Creator. But he has not done so, and Meursault, the hero of The Stranger, remains ambiguous, even to the reader who is familiar with theories of the absurd. We are, of course, assured that he is absurd, and his dominant characteristic is a pitiless clarity. Besides, he is, in more ways than one, constructed so as to furnish a concerted illustration of the theories expounded in The Myth of Sisyphus. For example, in the latter work, Camus writes, man's virility lies more in what he keeps to himself than in what he And Meursault [is] an example of this virile silence, of this refusal to indulge in words.... (pp.
[Meursault] has always lived according to Camus's standards. If there were a grace of absurdity, we would have to say that he has grace. He does not seem to pose himself any of the questions explored in The Myth of Sisyphus .... The character thus retains a real opacity, even to the absurd-conscious observer. He is no Don Juan, no Don Quixote of the absurd; he often even seems like its Sancho Panza. He is there before us, he exists, and we can neither understand nor quite judge him. In a word, he is alive, and all that can justify him to us is his fictional density.
The Stranger is not, however, to be regarded as a completely gratuitous work. Camus distinguishes, as we have mentioned, between the notion and the feeling of the absurd. He says, in this connection, feelings, like great works, are always more meaningful than they are aware of being.... An intense feeling carries with it its own universe, magnificent or wretched, as the case may (The Myth of Sisyphus). And he adds, a bit further on, feeling of the absurd is not the same as the idea of the absurd. The idea is grounded in the feeling, that is all. It does not exhaust The Myth of Sisyphus might be said to aim at giving us this idea, and The Stranger at giving us the feeling. (p. 114)
Old 02-28-2006, 09:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2
Re: Albert Camus - The Stranger
Camus talks a great deal; in The Myth of Sisyphus he is even garrulous. And yet, he reveals his love of silence.... [In] The Stranger, he has attempted to be silent. But how is one to be silent with words? How is one to convey through concepts the unthinkable and disorderly succession of present instants? This problem involves resorting to a new technique.
What is this new technique? Kafka written by I was told. I confess that I have found no trace of Kafka in it. Camus's views are entirely of this earth, and Kafka is the novelist of impossible transcendence; for him, the universe is full of signs that we cannot understand; there is a reverse side to the décor. For Camus, on the contrary, the tragedy of human existence lies in the absence of any transcendence.... (pp.
He is not concerned, then, with so ordering words as to suggest an inhuman, undecipherable order; the inhuman is merely the disorderly, the mechanical. There is nothing ambiguous in his work, nothing disquieting, nothing hinted at. The Stranger gives us a succession of luminously clear views. If they bewilder us, it is only because of their number and the absence of any link between them. Camus likes bright mornings, clear evenings, and relentless afternoons. His favorite season is Algiers' eternal summer. Night has hardly any place in his universe.
When he does talk of it, it is in the following terms: awakened with stars about my face. Country noises reached my ears. My temples were soothed by odors of night, earth, and salt. The wonderful peace of that sleepy summer invaded me like a (The Stranger). The man who wrote these lines is as far removed as possible from the anguish of a Kafka. He is very much at peace within disorder. Nature's obstinate blindness probably irritates him, but it comforts him as well. Its irrationality is only a negative thing. The absurd man is a humanist; he knows only the good things of this world.
The comparison with Hemingway seems more fruitful. The relationship between the two styles is obvious. Both men write in the same short sentences. Each sentence refuses to exploit the momentum accumulated by preceding ones. Each is a new beginning. Each is like a snapshot of a gesture or object. For each new gesture and word there is a new and corresponding sentence. Nevertheless, I am not quite satisfied. The existence of an narrative technique has certainly been of help to Camus. I doubt whether it has, strictly speaking, influenced him. (p. 116)
I catch a glimpse of a poetic prose underneath, which is probably Camus's personal mode of expression. If The Stranger exhibits ... visible traces of the American technique, it was deliberate on Camus's part. He has chosen from among all the instruments at his disposal the one which seemed to serve his purpose best. I doubt whether he will use it again in future works. (p. 117)
Camus's story is analytic and humorous. Like all artists, he invents, because he pretends to be reconstituting raw experience and because he slyly eliminates all the significant links which are also part of the experience.
That is what Hume did when he stated that he could find nothing in experience but isolated impressions. That is what the American neo-realists still do when they deny the existence of any but external relations between phenomena. Contemporary philosophy has, however, established the fact that meanings are also part of the immediate data. But this would carry us too far afield. We shall simply indicate that the universe of the absurd man is the analytic world of the neo-realists. In literature, this method has proved its worth. It was Voltaire's method in L'Ingénu and Micromégas, and Swift's in Gulliver's Travels. For the eighteenth century also had its own outsiders, usually, who, transported to a strange civilization, perceived facts before being able to grasp their meaning. The effect of this discrepancy was to arouse in the reader the feeling of the absurd. Camus seems to have this in mind on several occasions, particularly when he shows his hero reflecting on the reasons for his imprisonment. (p. 118)
Where Bergson saw an indestructible organization, [Camus] sees only a series of instants. It is the plurality of incommunicable moments that will finally account for the plurality of beings. What our author borrows from Hemingway is thus the discontinuity between the clipped phrases that imitate the discontinuity of time.
We are now in a better position to understand the form of his narrative. Each sentence is a present instant, but not an indecisive one that spreads like a stain to the following one. The sentence is sharp, distinct, and self-contained. It is separated by a void from the following one, just as Descartes's instant is separated from the one that follows it. The world is destroyed and reborn from sentence to sentence. When the word makes its appearance it is a creation ex nihilo. The sentences in The Stranger are islands. We bounce from sentence to sentence, from void to void. (pp.
The sentences are not, of course, arranged in relation to each other; they are simply juxtaposed. In particular, all causal links are avoided lest they introduce the germ of an explanation and an order other than that of pure succession. (p. 119)
This is what enables Camus to think that in writing The Stranger he remains silent. His sentence does not belong to the universe of discourse. It has neither ramifications nor extensions nor internal structure. (p. 120)
[Can] we speak of Camus's novel as something whole? All the sentences of his book are equal to each other, just as all the absurd man's experiences are equal. Each one sets up for itself and sweeps the others into the void. But, as a result, no single one of them detaches itself from the background of the others, except for the rare moments in which the author, abandoning these principles, becomes poetic.
The very dialogues are integrated into the narrative. Dialogue is the moment of explanation, of meaning, and to give it a place of honor would be to admit that meanings exist. Camus irons out the dialogue, summarizes it. renders it frequently as indirect discourse. He denies it any typographic privileges, so that a spoken phrase seems like any other happening. It flashes for an instant and then disappears, like heat lightning. Thus, when you start reading the book you feel as if you were listening to a monotonous, nasal, Arab chant rather than reading a novel. You may think that the novel is going to be like one of those tunes of which Courteline remarked that disappear, never to and stop all of a sudden. But the work gradually organizes itself before the reader's eyes and reveals its solid substructure.
There is not a single unnecessary detail, not one that is not returned to later on and used in the argument. And when we close the book, we realize that it could not have had any other ending. In this world that has been stripped of its causality and presented as absurd, the smallest incident has weight. There is no single one which does not help to lead the hero to crime and capital punishment. The Stranger is a classical work, an orderly work, composed about the absurd and against the absurd. Is this quite what the author was aiming at? I do not know. I am simply presenting the reader's opinion.
Old 11-25-2015, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Re: Albert Camus - The Stranger
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