Frenchalgeria<sup>1</sup> – (not) asking for a name, naming, calling by name in tales of Algerians

Judith Still

in Derrida and Hospitality Theory and Practice

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640270
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671786 | DOI:
Frenchalgeria1 – (not) asking for a name, naming, calling by name in tales of Algerians

Show Summary Details


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

Chapter.  19836 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.