Humanism and the White Man’s Burden’: Camus, Daru, Meursault and the Arabs

  • Michel Grimaud


In The Stranger (1942), a French Algerian named Meursault murders a nameless Arab. In ‘L’Hôte’, the central story of Exile and the Kingdom (1957), a schoolteacher named Daru feeds the hungry bodies and souls of young Arab children; he is sentenced to death by Arab freedom fighters because of a misunderstanding related to his handling of a nameless Arab criminal. Both stories were written for a Continental French as well as an Algerian French audience but they are widely known and taught throughout the world as examples of great Western literature.


Personal Morality Freedom Fighter Social Outcast Poetic Justice Central Story 
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  1. 3.
    Louis Sala-Molins, Le Code noir (Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1987).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    A. J. Liebling, New Yorker, 3, November 1956, p. 144.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Philip Thody, ‘Camus’ L’Etranger revisited’ (Critical Quarterly, vol. 21, 1979, pp. 61–9).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 12.
    English Showalter Jr, ‘The Guest: The Reluctant Host, Fate’s Hostage’ in his Exiles and Strangers (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1981).Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    Blacks did not too often get the opportunity to go to school and, moreover, it took some time for the French to decide that their ancestors were the Gauls. On this, see Marc Ferro, Comment on raconte l’histoire aux enfants à travers le monde entier (Paris, Payot, 1981/1986) p. 37 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michel Grimaud

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