Volume 42, Issue 2/3, Summer/Fall 2012
The Author as Stranger
Nietzsche and Camus
I argue that not only do Nietzsche and Camus share a sense of the world as fundamentally “strange,” but that each adopts an authorial position as stranger to the reader as well. The various strategies of concealment, evasion, and silence they employ to assure their authorial strangeness are in the service of what Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault would later call “the death of the author,” the disappearance of the author as authority over his or her own text. I argue further, however, that within this largely shared commitment, Nietzsche and Camus finally have quite different conceptions of the goals of their respective authorships and different manners of pursuing their deaths as authors. These contrasts leave us, finally, with distinct constructions of the author as stranger.