A short excerpt from the 1967 film, The Stranger, as directed by Luchino Visconti based on Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger .
<ul><li>“ Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know.” </li></ul>http://www.cyberattic.com/stores/momentsintime/items/375450/catphoto.jpg
Albert Camus In the 1940’s Camus became well known as a world-class literary intellectual from a local author and playwright unknown to anyone outside Algiers. When he published The Stranger he became internationally known. Albert Camus was well known as a novelist, dramatist, journalist, philosophical essayist, and champion of freedom. During this time period there was war going on in Europe, official censorship and crackdown on left-wing journals. Camus did not have a secure job or much income. He married his second wife Francine Faure in December of 1940. He moved from Lyons back to Algeria to become a French history and geography teacher to have some sort of income. This was all going on while Camus was finishing up The Stranger. When it was finally published in 1942 this particular novel made him famous in the literary world.
<ul><li>Chronology </li></ul><ul><li>1913 November 7 Born in Mondovi, French Algiers. </li></ul><ul><li>1914 September Father, Lucien, killed in World War I, Battle of the Marne. </li></ul><ul><li>1930 Treated for tuberculosis. </li></ul><ul><li>1934 Marries Simone Hié, daughter of an ophthalmologist. Later divorced. </li></ul><ul><li>1935 Founds The Workers' Theatre to educate and entertain the working class of Algiers. </li></ul><ul><li>1937 Began writing the collection of essays known as the Algerian Essays. </li></ul><ul><li>1938 Joined the reporting staff of the Alger-Republicain. </li></ul><ul><li>1939 The Workers' Theatre closes. </li></ul><ul><li>1940 Marries Francine Faure, a mathematics instructor. </li></ul><ul><li>1940 Left Algeria for Paris, then left Paris after the Nazi invasion. </li></ul><ul><li>1941 Returned to France to join the French Resistance Movement. </li></ul><ul><li>1942 Publishes The Stranger. </li></ul><ul><li>1943 Becomes editor of the Parisian Daily Combat, a French Resistance newspaper. </li></ul><ul><li>1943 June 2 Meets Jean-Paul Sartre. </li></ul><ul><li>1945 Twins, Catherine and Jean, born to Camus and Francine. </li></ul><ul><li>1951 Publishes The Rebel, a study of revolt and rebellion. The book's criticisms of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party lead to a split from Sartre. </li></ul><ul><li>1956 The Fall published, a study of fraud and guilt. </li></ul><ul><li>1957 Awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. </li></ul><ul><li>1958 Actuelles III is published, a collection of Camus' columns on the condition of Arabs in Algeria. </li></ul><ul><li>1960 Publishes Resistance, Rebellion, and Death. </li></ul><ul><li>1960 January 4 Died in Sens, France in an automobile accident. </li></ul>
The Stranger <ul><li>L’Etranger ( The Stranger ) was to become one of Albert Camus’ most famous novels when it was released in Paris 1942 during the beginning of the Second World War, by the publisher Libraire Gallimard. A similar philosophical writing of his was released the same year, titled The Myth of Sisyphus . Both scripts established Camus’ importance as a philosopher of the era. </li></ul><ul><li>The story of the The Stranger made its debut in the United States in 1946, through Alfred A Knopf’s English translation. Over 3.5 million copies were sold in the first few years after it was first available. </li></ul><ul><li>Albert Camus writings have become well known for imparting his existential, absurdist philosophies of human existence. These philosophies are the dominant theme in many of his novels and are easily understood in The Stranger . </li></ul>
Existentialism <ul><li>Existentialism was given its name by Jean Paul Sartre, an important 20 th century French philosopher. Also a writer, he incorporated his ideas of the world’s indifference to human existence in many of his own writings. Jean Paul Sartre became a great influence on Albert Camus and together they became the two most reputable philosophers of post-war France and well known public figures for the existential movement that had grown in popularity with the war. </li></ul><ul><li>In essence existentialism refers to the idea that humans are absolutely free and fully responsible for the person they become and what they do in their own life. This theory focuses on the concreteness of human existence; a person exists, lives a life of defining moments, and then they can define their essence . </li></ul>
Absurdism <ul><li>Related to existentialism is absurdism, the theory most employed by Camus in The Stranger . This philosophy holds the idea that man will always fail in his search for meaning in the world, because the world holds no meaning for him to find. Instead of giving up humans use order to project meaning onto the irrational, indifferent world in which they live. </li></ul><ul><li>An important aspect of this theory and to existentialism is atheism, there is no greater being with a pre-determined plan for the individual, man exists in a disinterested and impartial world, thus the only meaning in life is what man projects through his actions. </li></ul><ul><li>With existentialism humans define their life through living and becoming the person they choose to be. Using their free will to shape their essence they impose meaning on their own lives. According then to absurdism none of this matters because the meaning will die with them and ultimately be forgotten by the uncaring world . </li></ul>
Meursault <ul><li>Albert Camus projects these two closely related philosophies on the reader using Mersault, the main character as a social deviant. By him embodying a complete absurdist indifference to the world, his impartial actions magnify the efforts of men and women around him who live in a world in which order, customs, and religion make their lives seem meaningful. </li></ul><ul><li>The people around him cannot accept that his indifference. This disapproval by the public is shown at his trial by the prosecutor, “Gentlemen of the jury, the day after his mother's death, this man was out swimming, starting up a dubious liaison, and going to the movies, a comedy, for laughs. I have nothing further to say.” </li></ul>
Discussion Questions <ul><li>Why doesn’t Meursault grieve for his mother’s death? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the significance of Meursault’s fixation with the physical pleasures and strains? </li></ul><ul><li>How does absurdism shape Meursault’s actions? </li></ul>