Abstract

Abstract:

This essay interrogates the relationship between Kamel Daoud's novel Meursault, contre-enquête and Albert Camus's L'Étranger through an extended reading of Meursault's narrative form. I argue that the complexity of this relationship only fully emerges when Daoud's novel is read as such—not by tallying the aspects that are critical of Camus and those that are sympathetic, but by considering its narrative conception and unfolding. Attending in particular to the key features of its narrative instance and use of metalepsis, I show how Meursault approaches the project of postcolonial counternarrative differently than canonical remakes, emphasizing the experiences that render 'writing back' impossible. Through an exploration of the aftermath of colonial violence and the forms of irremediable epistemic and ethical uncertainty it produces, Daoud redefines absurdity, from the nihilistic universal articulated by the narrator of L'Étranger, to a historical condition linked to the history and legacies of colonial violence—a definition of absurdity that I argue places him in close relationship to Camus, and particularly the Camus of La Chute.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1836
Print ISSN
0098-9355
Pages
pp. 295-309
Launched on MUSE
2021-04-22
Open Access
No
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