, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 527–541 | Cite as

Camus’s Algerian in Paris: A Prose Poetic Reading of L’Étranger

  • Alistair RollsEmail author


This paper demonstrates that L'Étranger, Camus's famous novel about an outsider, had by as early as 1946 become just as much of an 'insider' in terms of its affiliation to the Parisian literary tradition. More than an insider simply by virtue of its contemporary place in the French canon, then, the novel is also intertextually bound to a tradition of oxymoronic poetics dating back to Charles Baudelaire's Paris Spleen (Les Petits poèmes en prose). I shall examine the way in which L'Étranger performs its prose poetics, thereby establishing it as exemplary of a Parisian model of modernity. Additionally, the famous scene on the beach will be considered as a liminal space and as a literary translation of Paris into the desert, which, once a joke for Paris's relationship to provincial France, became after the Second World War a new allegory for the capital's self-alterity.


L'Etranger Baudelaire Prose poetry Modernity Paris Oxymoron Chiasmus 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Humanities and Social ScienceThe University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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