Mon année à l'étranger - Kwiziq French Language Learning Blog
We condemn or set him free based not on the crime he commits but on our assessment of him as a person. Does he love his mother? Or is he cold toward her, uncaring, even? How would we have seen Meursault then? Likely, our first impression would have been of a child speaking. Rather than being put off, we would have felt pity or sympathy. But this, too, would have presented an inaccurate view of Meursault.
So how is the English-language translator to avoid unnecessarily influencing the reader? First, the French word maman is familiar enough for an English-language reader to parse.
Albert Camus was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in , an achievement which filled him with anxiety because, at 44 years of age, he was the second youngest Nobel laureate ever after Rudyard Kipling and he despaired of producing work of the standard the world now expected of him. However, he need not have worried: only three years later he died in a car crash.
And everywhere The Stranger is discussed, philosophy rears its head.
L'Etranger key quotes
In particular the theories of absurdism and existentialism are bandied about so I had to check out their definitions. A person can create specific meaning for his own individual life but this does not change the fact that life, a sensory rather than rational experience, has no deeper purpose other than existence. Death is the only certainty and the world is indifferent to man who is of no importance once he no longer exists. It is against this cheery background that The Stranger was written. Despite its short length, the book is dense with meaning and every sentence counts.
The opening line is probably one of the most famous in French literature. He attends her funeral with disconcerting aplomb and composure. The following day, he meets Marie, a girl he knows from before and begins an affair with her. In his relationships with her and his neighbours; Salamano, a widower who despises and loves his old, scabby dog in equal measure, and Raymond, a shady character who abuses his Arab girlfriend for whom he is probably pimping; Meursault seems to shows a lack of discernment that borders on autistic.
Meursault is constitutionally incapable of being untruthful. He is sensitive to the sensations the physical world around him provoke; he is perturbed by the heat of the sun, he enjoys sex with Marie, he appreciates her physical beauty. But his emotional reactions to more abstract situations appear strange. A moment later she asked if I loved her.
He tells the truth even when social etiquette demands a white lie. I said nothing and then he asked again if I wanted to be his friend. He assists Raymond to escape charges for beating his girlfriend even though he witnesses and even facilitates her beating. Raymond invites Meurseult and Marie to spend the weekend in a seaside cabin belonging to his friend, Masson. Raymond passes a gun to Meursault and after Raymond receives a knife injury they return to the cabin.
"correspondante à l'étranger" English translation
The extent to which Camus approves of Meursault and his journey towards enlightenment is something I wondered about. Meursault becomes more sympathetic as the novel progresses and this is also reflected in the changing prose style which becomes richer, more complex. Is Camus saying that we should become indifferent to the world just as it is indifferent to us? Or is he saying that we should take as much enjoyment as we can from the sensory pleasures of life but in the clear knowledge that none of this means anything and ceases to have relevance once the moment is past?
Food for thought. Either way, a great review of a great book. Really enjoyed that and, yes, lots of food for thought which I will now chew over. Is The Stranger closer to the original? What a short book to contain such a complex array of events and speculations. It would be a good one for a discussion group. I wonder what it was labeled as when the book was first published?
Interesting point about how perception of that has changed in just a few decades.
This review was an excellent homage to an excellent book. I would like to elaborate on a couple of points: first, here is the quote from Mary:. Second, we, as readers of French literature or philosophy must not disergard the importance and significance of Camus in philosophy and our everyday lives. In closing, if you are a fan of Camus, or the philosophy of the absurd, please support the Albert Camus Society. Thanks Sam. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving….
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