The Outsider: making the existential tradition of communication theory come alive
Albert Camus (1913-1960), recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, was one of France's greatest post-war writers. He published his first novel, The Outsider (L'Etranger), in 1942. Given that The Outsider is widely regarded as a classic existentialist work, the following research question is posed in this article: How, and to what extent, does the existential tradition of communication theory feature in the mentioned work? The Penguin edition of the novel (translated from the French by Joseph Laredo and published in 1983) is used in the study. With regard to the methodology used, the study necessitated in the main research of literature on The Outsider, existentialism and existential communication. The methods employed were analytical in order to determine the relationship between The Outsider, existentialism and existential communication; and critical, for purposes of highlighting aspects of the existential tradition of communication theory that can be read in the novel. A brief summation of the storyline is provided with particular focus on the communication of the protagonist, Meursault, followed by Camus's short interpretation of the novel which he wrote as a preface to the American university edition in 1955. Thereafter the gist of an existential perspective on communication and some recurring themes in
existentialism are provided to facilitate and contextualise the ensuing analysis of The Outsider. The article concludes that The Outsider persuasively captures fundamental traits of the existential tradition of communication theory.