Hell (Barbusse novel)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Hell (L'Enfer) is a French novel by Henri Barbusse first published in 1908, in which the unnamed narrator peers into a hole in the wall of his hotel room. From the other side, he witnesses: lesbianism; adultery; incest; and death. It is only when he feels he has uncovered all the secrets of life that he decides to leave the room for good. But, as he attempts to leave, he is overcome with backache and blindness.

The novel focuses entirely on the story of a voyeur. He is an isolated man who presents a great many of the problems of modern existentialism in a nutshell. Colin Wilson used this book as the starting point for his "Outsider"

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