CONRAD, GIDE, AND CAMUS: THE PERILS OF LIBERAL ANTI-COLONIALISM

Ibrahim Henna, Sabrina Zerar

Abstract


Joseph Conrad has won a prominent place in the English literary tradition though he couldhave earned a similar name for himself in the French literary tradition if he had tried his hand in writing in French of which he had also a good command. However, his choice of writing in English has by no means diminished the impact that oeuvre, and much more particularly his Heart of Darkness has had on French writers such as André Gide, who in critical circles came to be dubbed as the “Conrad de France.” In this research, we would argue that Albert Camus also fully deserves the nickname of a French Conrad adduced to Gide because of those striking resemblances in their works as imperial authors. Admittedly, unlike Gide, Camus is not Conrad’s fellow contemporary. He neither exchanged friendly correspondence with Conrad across the English Channel, nor did he write that stylized version of Heart of darkness that Gide called Travels in the Congo,which explicitly invites comparison of the two authors.  However, as we would contend Camus followed Gide’s lead by having another look at the imperial or colonial world through Joseph Conrad’s eyes to correct and adjust the existential vision of life in relation to the Self-Other encounter that Gide develops in his writings about colonial Algeria and the Congo. Hopefully, a triangular historicist postcolonial perspective oncontroversial fictions such as Conrad’sHeart of Darkness on the one hand, and Camus’ The stranger  and Gide’s Travels in the Congo as well as Nourrituresterrestres on the other hand, will enrich the already available critical literature on the three authors and their ambivalent stand to empire.

Keywords: Conrad, Gide, Camus, colonialism, critique, allegory, political unconsciou.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.0001/ijllis.v8i10.1981

DOI (PDF): http://dx.doi.org/10.0001/ijllis.v8i10.1981.g2410

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