Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French Studies

Document Type



How do we respond to the experience of encountering the Other, particularly in the context of colonial and postcolonial worlds? Do we see the Other, oppress the Other or care for the Other? In this dissertation I examine the nuanced exploration of responding to the presence of the Other in the remarkable literary dialogue that the contemporary Algerian author Kamel Daoud (1970-) has opened with the canonical French author, Albert Camus (1913-1960). I shall do so by focusing on Camus’s L’Étranger (1942) and La Chute (1956), alongside Daoud’s Meursault, contre-enquête (2013). In examining this literary ‘conversation’, the dissertation seeks to unveil new approaches in dealing with the Other and construct a connection between colonial and postcolonial narratives.

Albert Camus, an important figure in French literature, who was born in Algeria, explored the complexities of human relationship to the universe and others through his philosophical and literary writings. His narrative style and philosophical foundations contribute significantly to the broader exploration of the concept of the Other. In his famous novel L’Étranger, he deals with this theme within the backdrop of colonial Algeria. In contrast Daoud’s Meursault, contre-enquête is often categorized as a response to Camus’s colonial narrative in L’Étranger. It is argued that Daoud’s objective is to recover the identity of the colonized Other who is suppressed in Camus’s novel. While I argue that a close examination of this literary ‘conversation’ reveals that Daoud introduces a unique perspective within the framework of Camus’s literary works. His narrative not only engages with Camus’s text but also transcends the simplistic dichotomy between colonizer and colonized.

Consequently, this study concludes by asserting that the binary division between the colonizer and the colonized is insufficient to understand the place of the Other in Camus’s works and in a postcolonial setting like contemporary Algeria. My argument is that both Camus and Daoud transcend the binary definition of self and Other inherent in the postcolonial/colonial paradigm, offering a more profound and nuanced understanding of the complexities surrounding the lived experience of the Other.



Committee Chair

Peters-Hill, Rosemary

Available for download on Tuesday, May 13, 2031