The Stranger (1942)

The Stranger, published in 1942 as L'Étranger, is a seminal work that delves into the philosophy of existentialism and the absurdity of human existence. The novel follows Meursault, a detached and apathetic Algerian, as he navigates life with a sense of indifference to moral codes. The physical setting of colonial Algiers is not merely a backdrop but an integral part of the narrative, reflecting the oppressive atmosphere that mirrors Meursault's emotional detachment. Camus’s writing style, characterized by its sparse and detached nature, serves to emphasize the existential outlook on life that permeates the novel. The Stranger is a response to the philosophical and intellectual movement of existentialism that gained prominence in the aftermath of World War II. The novel is a reflection on the nihilism and disillusionment of the time, as Meursault’s rebellion against traditional values and moral codes symbolizes the broader questioning of meaning in a seemingly indifferent universe. Although written during the height of the conflict, Camus’s work represents the spirit of a post-war Europe grappling with the consequences of conflict and the existential angst that followed.

The Plague (1947)

The Plague, published in 1947, is a novel that explores the human condition through the lens of an epidemic. The story is set in the Algerian city of Oran, which is quarantined after an outbreak of bubonic plague. The novel’s protagonist, Dr. Bernard Rieux, works tirelessly to combat the disease and care for the sick, all while grappling with the existential questions that arise in the face of suffering and death. The novel reflects on the complexities of morality, existentialism, and the resilience of the human spirit. 

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