1. Patriot6
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    Patriot6 New Member

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    The Stranger - Albert Camus

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Patriot6, Oct 8, 2009.

    My relationship with this book actually started because of my Theology class. When we were told to read it, small and seemingly dull, I generally didn't feel inclined to pick it up. However, towards the end of holding it, I suddenly found this attraction to it; where, before I'd just skim and use the notes for tests, I'd start from page one and read it nonstop. Thoughts? Comments?
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I read it in the World Literature part of my IB course, and to be honest I liked it. It's very odd, and very interesting, and really did make me think. Usually those kind of books just bore me, but the character of Mersault was really well written, and I found myself disecting him almost from the off. I find it interesting that the translation I read was called "The Outsider", which really I think is a better reflection of the story, if not the better translation.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Actually, Camus was dissatisfied with both of the English translations of the title...there is no exact English equivalent for the French l'etranger which is translated variously as foreigner, stranger, outsider, though none of those are quite accurate. Camus didn't like the idea of setting up the MC as someone apart from society, which the English translations do, and which the French does not.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I read it in English first and then in French. The latter is obviously better. The translation I read lost some of the nuances of the original. I imagine that newer translation do a better job, but it still doesn't compare to the original. If you ever get a chance, I would highly recommend you read the original.
     
  5. ciara
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    ciara New Member

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    i read it not that long ago. i loved how i was so repelled by the MC but the author never attempts to make excuses for him being so repulsive.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Can anyone recommend any other good Camus books? I've only read L'Etranger and want to read more of him, so any recommendations would be helpful.
     
  7. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    The Plague is the obvious choice. It is my favourite novel, and it includes a few little nods to L'Etranger as well.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    La Peste it is! Hopefully it's as good a read as L'Etranger.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Its a lot harder to read in French (unless you're fluent)...I had to give it up to focus on essays and school and things, but maybe I'll try again over the break...
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, I am fluent since I've been speaking French with my mom ever since I could talk. In other cases, it's really hard for me to read in other languages. For example, I understand a little Spanish, but it's limited to everyday expressions. If I read in Spanish, I don't get 98% of what I'm reading.

    But anyways, I'll pick up a copy of La Peste ASAP.
     
  11. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Jealous...I studied French for like 4 years....I'm still only like intermediate level....but yeah, I could read L'etranger alright, bt La Peste was harder going...
    But definitely still a decent read...
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yeah, it really helps growing up speaking the language. L'Etranger was a fairly easy read, although I admit I had to consult a dictionary a few times. My vocabulary in French isn't as extensive as it is in English. But once you get the grammar and syntax down, it's really just a matter of reading a lot to build vocabulary.

    Anyhow, does anyone else have any recommendations? I know he only wrote a few novels, so maybe I'll try some of his short stories after I'm done with La Peste.
     
  13. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    You should also read Chekhov (if you can read plays....some people are ok with it, some people refuse..and then if you like Chekhov you should read Mansfield....who is similar to Camus in some ways...)
    Also Dostoyevsky, maybe some Sartre?
     
  14. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I have actually read both Chekhov and Mansfield, although it was just a small collection of stories from each. I have only read Crime and Punishment, but I will try to read some of Dostoevsky's other major novels. I haven't read Sartre yet although I heard Nausea is a great novel. I'll probably have to read Sartre in English as well as in French just because he's very philosophical, and I wouldn't want to miss anything crucial.
     
  15. ciara
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    ciara New Member

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    sarte is great! i wrote my disseration on his work and directed no exit. but i have to say that nausea is not his greatest work. His play the flies (based on the electra myth) is one of my favourite and of course no exit is a classic. but they are plays so it depends if you mind reading play text or not.
     
  16. KillerMermaid
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    KillerMermaid New Member

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    this is one of my all time faves.
    Mersault reminds my of Holden Caulfield... and so I can relate to him...

    I picked this up at a little library when I was in middle school because of the eye-catching cover (people in striped suits, bizarre) and read it in one setting. I LOVED it.
     
  17. Moggle
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    I read it and hated it.
     
  18. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Why?
     
  19. ManhattanMss
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    I'm about half-way through THE PLAGUE, which I found on my shelf (probably belonged to my dad), and I think it's very interesting, but a story I'll need to finish and think about to figure out why it's important. Does it have to do with the "present" experience and how that relates to "meaning"? I wonder if you'd mind sharing what makes it your favorite. Camus (like many others) is someone I should've read in college where I could more easily learn from the views of other readers (and maybe I should've done better in French so I didn't have to read him in translation).
     
  20. CajunSunrise
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    CajunSunrise New Member

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    I had to read L'Etranger a few years ago for school- I liked it. I agreed with most parts of absurdist philosophy at the time, so I really enjoyed Mersault's quirky way of perceiving the world- caring only about how the other characters treated him, but not how they treated others. I don't know if I'd like it so much now, but I'd probably still appreciate the book as thought-provoking.

    My favorite part had to be the last few lines, when Mersault was happy to meet the raging crowd.
     
  21. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    First, it's beautifully written. For example, the scene where Tarrou discusses his past and his father is one of my favourite pieces of prose. The scene manages to create interest and tension, even though it takes place outside of the main plot. It creates detailed, believable characters and places them in an interesting situation in the span of a few pages. Beyond that, Tarrou's character makes what is in my opinion an extremely persuasive and sensitive argument on the human condition, using this scene as its framework. The scene basically encapsulates everything that is powerful and beautiful about the novel in a scene small enough to read in one sitting.

    The novel works foremost for me on the level of its characters and their experience. A certain scene near the end of the novel is the only time I can remember a book making me cry since I was a child. I enjoy the philosophical arguments presented by Camus, but I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the novel nearly as much if the town and its people were not presented so vividly, and with so much sensitivity.
     
  22. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    Very nice analysis. Thanks so much!
     

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