This essay offers a reading of Albert Camus' short story, «The Guest» («L'hôte"), published in Exile and the Kingdom (1957). It interprets its political and ethical implications and uncovers its biblical references, which Camus intentionally camouflaged or deleted in the final redaction. It argues that the story is a philosophical tale based on two major biblical motifs: Cain (Gen. 4:1-9) and the temptation of Jesus in the desert (Mt. 4:1-11; Lk. 4:1-30). In "The Guest" Camus defines what is in his judgment the main problem of colonialism: the social alienation of the natives and their consequent misery. This political problem is for him profoundly linked to the ethical question of hospitality. The biblical motifs in the story illustrate and elaborate the themes of colonialism and hospitality, and help shape Camus' political and ethical position. Camus condemns the violence and suffering induced by colonialism, but in the name of responsibility he also rejects what he considers to be the selfish neutrality or moral disengagement often characteristic of the post-colonial attitude.
|Translated title of the contribution||Biblical paradigms, colonialism and hospitality in «The Host» by Camus|
|State||Published - 2006|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory