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Le premier homme and the literature of loss

Kelly, Debra (2007) Le premier homme and the literature of loss. In: Hughes, Edward J., (ed.) The Cambridge companion to Camus. Cambridge companions to literature . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge ; New York, pp. 191-202. ISBN 9780521549783

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Abstract

Recent readings of Le Premier Homme (published posthumously in 1994), influenced by postcolonial theory and its emphasis on power relations between formerly colonised regions and the colonising powers, have put Camus 'in the dock' to answer for a list of offences ranging from overt racism, for example in L'Etranger, to 'special pleading' in the defence of 'French Algeria' in Le Premier Homme. This chapter argues that the ambiguities of Camus's writing and of the representation of memory in the Algerian context are more complex and intense than trial by political conviction allows. Read within a framework extending beyond postcolonial theory to memory studies, Le Premier Homme is a text of 'mediation' in the sense that Avery Gordon defines 'haunting' as a particular form of mediation, describing "the process that links an institution and an individual, a social structure and a subject, and history and a biography". A work of literary imagination that engages with memory work, Le Premier Homme is an interpretation of history and personal experience that haunts and continues to tell is much about the anxieties of contemporary postcolonial cultures.

Item Type:Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cultural memory, historical ambiguities, textual ambiguities, mourning, haunting, loss, postcolonial cultures, postcolonial theory
Research Community:University of Westminster > Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, School of
ID Code:5022
Deposited On:09 Jun 2008 10:23
Last Modified:12 Oct 2009 09:37

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