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The Outsider (Everyman's Library Classics) Hardcover – 22 Oct 1998


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Frequently Bought Together

The Outsider (Everyman's Library Classics) + Plague, Fall, Exile And The Kingdom And Selected Essays (Everyman's Library Contemporary Classics) + Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman; New Ed edition (22 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857151399
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857151398
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. His childhood was poor, although not unhappy. He studied philosophy at the University of Algiers, and became a journalist as well as organizing the Théâtre de l'équipe, a young avant-garde dramatic group.

His early essays were collected in L'Envers et l'endroit (The Wrong Side and the Right Side) and Noces (Nuptials). He went to Paris, where he worked on the newspaper Paris Soir before returning to Algeria. His play, Caligula, appeared in 1939. His first two important books, L'Etranger (The Outsider) and the long essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), were published when he returned to Paris.

After the occupation of France by the Germans in 1941, Camus became one of the intellectual leaders of the Resistance movement. He edited and contributed to the underground newspaper Combat, which he had helped to found. After the war he devoted himself to writing and established an international reputation with such books as La Peste (The Plague 1947), Les Justes (The Just 1949) and La Chute (The Fall; 1956). During the late 1950s Camus renewed his active interest in the theatre, writing and directing stage adaptations of William Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun and Dostoyevsky's The Possessed. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was killed in a road accident in 1960.

His last novel, Le Premier Homme (The First Man), unfinished at the time of his death, appeared for the first time in 1994. An instant bestseller, the book received widespread critical acclaim, and has been translated and published in over thirty countries. Much of Camus's work is available in Penguin.

Sartre paid tribute to him in his obituary notice: 'Camus could never cease to be one of the principal forces in our cultural domain, nor to represent, in his own way, the history of France and of this century.'

(Image: Albert Camus in Oran. Private collection. Rights reserved.)


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83 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Andy Miller on 23 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback
One of the very few books that I have ended up reading twice, I first came across The Outsider long ago in 1962 when I was 17 and have just revisited it recently with my reading group, extremely curious to know whether the strong impression it originally made upon me would be rekindled.

In the main, it was not. Coming to this novel in adolescence as one of the first `serious' books I had encountered, and just before the social upheavals of the 1960s began, I found the story and fate of Mersault, who could not or would not lie or express the standard emotions that were expected of him, quite shattering of the world in which I had grown up. Over the intervening decades, I carried a memory of Mersault as a noble hero and of the type of society that I had grown up in as a hypocritical conspiracy against the expression of honesty of feeling. As much or more than Kerouac, Ginsberg and Dylan, it was this book that made me a small town, coffee bar existentialist.

On re-reading at a different age and in a different era, I was struck by a number of impressions. Mersault appears less heroic and emptier of human warmth. He tacitly supports his neighbour, a pimp, in his violence towards his girlfriend and the novel hints more at his racism in the motiveless murder of an Algerian on the beach, around which the novel revolves. His patterns of thinking seem now far less idealistic and almost autistic in character.

However, the sense of place and especially the evocation of the heat, sun, sea, the streets of the town, the courtroom and his prison cell remain convincing and beautifully expressed in clear, clean prose.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Gimblett on 12 Feb 2001
Format: Paperback
Though I hate being so unoriginal, I can only repeat what everyone else has said here: this book, along with Sartre's 'Nausea' represents a defining moment in Twentieth century culture. The two books - although by different authors - should be read as a pair, though strictly that 'pair' could be extended to take in another half dozen books without much trouble. (e-mail me if you want to know which ones - though my guess is you already know, or have probably already read them.)
I last read this book from cover to cover in my teens (many years ago) but I think of it, and 'Nausea' almost every day.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MartinE on 29 Nov 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've read a few versions and translations of the The Outsider (in several languages) and this one is this by far the best. It manages to keep the voice of the character true to his nature and at the same time gives it a modern ring. All his thoughts and reflections were beautifully transcribed into English, which isn't easy with a narrator such as Meursault. This translation made me see something new about the novel and I strongly recommend it. Also, in the preface I read that the translator listened to a original reading by Camus to help her understand the nuances of his tone and meanings, which was pretty interesting!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 April 2000
Format: Paperback
Camus explores the values of a nation through the death of an old lady and the subsequent behaviour of her son, both at the funeral and afterwards.
This book leaves one wondering about so many things: How can things that seem normal in one sense be totally objectionable and abnormal when placed in a different context. One can finally both understand Mersault's justification for commiting a crime without apparent reason and yet, at the same time, why the jury find him guilty of not "playing the game" - not being prepared to lie to cover up human weakness.
Fascinating - even better in the original French language. Some of the nuances are lost in the English translation but still ranks as an all time great!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By mipsum on 26 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback
I love this book. I first read it when I was about twenty, and was blown away. At a time when I was wrestling with my own feelings, the idea that someone could be honest about his lack of emotions was staggering. On re-reading it years later, I find it flawed (is Mersault really being consistent?) but still brilliant.

However, I have a problem with this edition. The premise is that Mersault is a perfectly acceptable, sociable, young man about town. He just happens not to love his mother very much and is honest enough not to lie about it - this is why it is such a challenging book. However, someone at Penguin has chosen to publish it with a cover illustration of a drooling psychopath, which is utterly at odds with the text, and will give readers completely the wrong preconceptions. Hadn't they read the book?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 July 2004
Format: Paperback
In 'The Outsider' Camus exposes the way in which the world rejects the truth and is unable to empathise with the feelings of those 'outsiders' who do not conform to their moral code.
Meursault's refusal to act out the feelings of remorse and grief - his refusal to lie - no matter what the consequences is what makes the character so real and the book such a compelling and satisfying read.
I'd recommend this book because the questions raised by it go beyond the confines of the story and it asks us if we really want to know the truth and if honesty really is the best policy.
Gives pause for thought - always a good thing!
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