Istoricizing and conceptualizing Albert Camus's dual perception of women in L'étranger and le Malentendu

  • Peter Akongfeh Agwu
  • Tolbert Cerdue Abutu


Several studies have been published on the recurring themes of death, revolt, and the absurdity of life in Albert Camus's literary works. These works mostly refer to ambiguity or contradiction regarding some of his ideologies of life. Camus’s recognition of life’s limitations while celebrating it to its fullness and his ambiguous attitudes towards the concept of death comes to mind. But little literature has been recorded of his mindset towards women. This study explores the evolution of Camus's multiple notions about women. It is an attempt to evaluate the ambiguity of perception inherent in his literary creation regarding his relationship with women. Camus's opus indicates that loving" at a distance" offers some advantages to men in pursuit of idealistic goals in life. An affirmation of the above statement is the blend of allegiance and disconnection which characterized Camus's relationship with his mother. Using Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalytic theory, the study posits that the disorienting or fluctuating limits in Camus’s characters manifested through Meurseult and Jan, demonstrates lingering challenges of human existence and a critical post-modern account of the absurdity of human condition. The study maintains that Camus's loyalty and detachment from women can be regarded as the paradigm of the rapport between man and society. This study's endgame is to, first, expose new perspective in Camus’s works, and then fill in the lacuna as well as to indicate a field of research of broader value in French literature.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1813-2227