Thoughts on Classics: “The Stranger – Albert Camus

The Stranger is presented as a first person narration by Monsieur Meursault. A man who get imprisoned for shooting “an Arab” on a beach.

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It’s a quick read, somewhat depressing, and very absurd. I like it! Especially thought provoking is the fact that Meursault excepts to be judged for his crime (murder) but is instead is judged by his character because he did not cry at his mothers funeral and the fact that he was seeing a comedy at the cinema the day after his mother’s death.

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Reading it gives me a sense of unease as I’m are used to sympathize with the main character. Meursault don’t care about being likable. Another striking thing about this books is Meursault detached way of observing the world.

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Here is a conversation after his friend have been beating up a girlfriend of his:

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“Then he wanted to shoot a game of pool, and I just barely lost. Afterwards he wanted to go to a whorehouse, but I said no, because I don’t like that. So we took our time getting back, him telling me how glad he was that he’d been able to give the woman what she deserved. I found him very friendly with me and I thought it was a nice moment.”

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📝 The Classic beginning:

“Mother died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the Home: “Mother deceased. Funeral Tomorrow. Faithfully yours.” That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday.”

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💭 Thought:

Haha, when I think about it, the way Monsieur Meursault expresses himself in this book is very similar to how I write in my journal. Short sentences. Very detached and emotionless. Giving small and big events the same weight. A journal entry could look like this: “My son took his first steps today. I need to eat more vegetables. Today I received The Stranger in the mail. Looking forward to reading it.”

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On the topic of baby steps; I’m taking my first stumbling steps into the world of classic literature. I feel it’s much harder to write about these types of books than non-fiction. Anyway.. I enjoy it!

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What are your favorite classics? Which one are wanting to read? 🤔

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4/5

 

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Thoughts on: “At the Existentialists Café” by Sarah Bakewell

Time for a small break from the Top- 10 countdown before it reaches its crescendo. 😎

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This became my first encounter with the modern existentialists thanks to a recommendation by @inside_brians_brain . In this book we get to know Sartre and de Beauvoir primarily – but also Camus, Heidegger, Merleau Ponty to name a few! And we are taken on a journey where we get to familiarize with their concerns about being human, freedom and above all; authenticity.

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📝 Remnants of existentialist ideas in modern culture: “The vague longing for a more “real” way of living leads some people for example to sign up for weekend retreats in which their smartphones are taken away, like toys from children, so that they can spend two days walking in the country landscape and reconnect to each other and their forgotten selfs.” Did I mention that I wished for a “silent retreat” for Christmas?! 🤣

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📝 Phenomenology:

A philosophy of describing reality in detail, exactly how it’s experienced in the moment. An example of phenomenology in action would be wine tasting.

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📝 Sartre wrote a lot. Averaging 20 pages a day during his lifetime.

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📝 Sartre gave money away as fast as it came – and books after he read them. The only things he kept was his pipe and his pen. ”Nothing was to be kept in place of the money. Just memories.”

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📝 About the pre-war rise of the nazis: ”Sometimes the most educated people where the least inclined to take the nazis seriously, dismissing them as too absurd to last.”

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The books is complex and so are the persons it portrays. It was slow to hone me in – but now I’m excited to learn more! I’m already committing to further studies of the existentialists and to embrace the density of existence, it’s anxiety and contingencies.

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4/5

“At the Existentialists Café” by Sarah Bakewell

Photo credit: @punkass_bookjockeys on Instagram

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