Born in Algeria in 1913, Albert Camus published The Stranger-now one of the most widely read novels of this century-in 1942. Celebrated in intellectual circles, Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. On January 4, 1960, he was killed in a car accident.
The new translation of Camus's classic is a cultural event; the translation of Cocteau's diary is a literary event. Both translations are superb, but Ward's will affect a naturalized narrative, while Browner's will strengthen Cocteau's reemerging critical standing. Since 1946 untold thousands of American students have read a broadly interpretative, albeit beautifully crafted British Stranger . Such readers have closed Part I on ``door of undoing'' and Part II on ``howls of execration.'' Now with the domestications pruned away from the text, students will be as close to the original as another language will allow: ``door of unhappiness'' and ``cries of hate.'' Browner has no need to ``write-over'' another translation. With Cocteau's reputation chiefly as a cineaste until recently, he has been read in French or not at all. Further, the essay puts a translator under less pressure to normalize for readers' expectations. Both translations show the current trend to stay closer to the original. Marilyn Gaddis Rose, SUNY at Binghamton
"The Stranger is a strikingly modern text and Matthew Ward's translation will enable readers to appreciate why Camus's stoical anti-hero and devious narrator remains one of the key expressions of a postwar Western malaise, and one of the cleverest exponents of a literature of ambiguity." -from the Introduction by Peter Dunwoodie