The confrontation of the Individual and the society: Jean-Jaques Rousseau traced in Albert Camus' The stranger

Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor, Department of French Language and Literature, University of Tehran Tehran Iran


Since its publishing in 1942, the majority of critics have interpreted The Stranger by Albert Camus to be the manifestation of the Absurd philosophy, which was previously introduced in The Myth of Sisyphus. However, Camus later answered the disambiguation concerning the hero of his book in an introduction to this novel’s English translation. The importance of this introduction lies with the fact it gives us the first notion of how the novel centers on the confrontation of the individual and the society. This theme is also present in the previous works of writers and intellects. More specifically, it is thoroughly investigated in the works of Jean- Jaques Rousseau, where he challenges The Human in the State of Nature against the civil and moral society. In this article, we demonstrate how The Stranger’s hero, Meursault, is similar to Rousseau’s Human in the State of Nature, and although never directly mentioned by Camus, how the 18th-century philosopher can be traced in the novel.


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