Linguistic and Anthropological Journeys

Here to answer questions on the fields of Anthopology and Linguistics

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Texts to Look For 1: L’Étranger
Linguistics Timothy Patrick Snyder Anthr
In this section, I will talk about texts, usually older, but generally not standard to the Modern English speaking audience.  They are often stories, poems, songs, etc, which you should find, even if it's in translation.  For some smaller poems, I'll include the actual texts.

Today, I'll talk about a poem I've learnt about recently, called L’Étranger which translates as "The Stranger."  It was written by Albert Camus in French.  This is a fairly new French book (published in 1942), and the translation is also pretty well known.  It's known for the apathy of the main character.  It is big on the idea of existentialism.  It tells the story of a man named Meursault who, living in Algeria and rather apathetic about everything including his mother's death, ends up on trial for murder.  The book follows Meursault and several non-major characters who have strange and interesting characteristics of their own, including one who hates his dog but is torn apart when the dog runs away, and girl whom Meursault becomes engaged to, though he still really doesn't care.

The opening lines are pretty famous, and I'll repeat them here:
Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas. J'ai reçu un télégramme de l'asile: Mère décédée. Enterrement demain. Sentiments distingués. Cela ne veut rien dire. C'était peut-être hier.
Roughly translated they mean:
Today, mama died.  Or maybe yesterday, I don't know.  I recieved a telegram from the home: Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Deepest Sympathies.  That doesn't mean anything.  Maybe it was yesterday.

If you haven't read this book, you should.  It has a very grimm outlook on life and living, I'm afraid.  I am myself and Atheist, and Meursault is not really much like myself or any other Atheist I've met. 


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