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Derrida and Hospitality Theory and Practice$
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Judith Still

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640270

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640270.001.0001

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Frenchalgeria1 – (not) asking for a name, naming, calling by name in tales of Algerians

Frenchalgeria1 – (not) asking for a name, naming, calling by name in tales of Algerians

(p.143) 4 Frenchalgeria1 – (not) asking for a name, naming, calling by name in tales of Algerians
Derrida and Hospitality Theory and Practice

Judith Still

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter raises the question of names in a range of different contexts of (in)hospitality, but in order to focus the topic, it keeps returning to Algeria and to the French (uninvited guests). It discusses the power of names — proper names, of course, with their special link to the individual subject or to a place, but also common nouns and even adjectives used to designate people and places. It begins with some introductory comments about naming and about hospitality. It then turns to the reception (hospitable or otherwise) of two French-Algerians (first Cixous and then Derrida) by their Anglophone readers, and asks how we tend to designate these two writers who set so much store by the question of naming. The chapter analyzes three issues around naming in Cixous's writing on Algeria: the name she gave her Algerian maid as a child, the importance of the use of adjectives to qualify people, and the name ‘brother’. Finally, it turns to Albert Camus. Camus's famous short story ‘L'Hôte’, usually translated as ‘The Guest’, was written as the Algerian War of Independence was approaching, and is set in Algeria almost at the time of writing.

Keywords:   inhospitality, Algeria, French, names, naming, French-Algerians, Cixous, Derrida, Albert Camus

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