Is the Other necessary?


Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 5:00pm to 6:30pm


CGIS South Rm S020, 1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA

The CMES Director's Series presents a talk in French by

Kamel Daoud
Algerian journalist and author of The Meursault Investigation (éditions Barzakh, Algeria, 2013; Actes Sud, France, 2014; Other Press, 2015, transl. by J. Cullen)

Can Albert Camus’s The Stranger be read as a tragic Robinsonade? One where Friday is killed rather than his humanity discovered or negated? Daoud will take these questions as a point of departure to discuss one of humanity’s major fables: the encounter with the Other. Or the negation of the Other. Three paths emerge: murder, religious negation, and the missing of the Other on the island of existence. It is this relationship to otherness that Daoud sought to explore in Meursault: What is the Other for me? In what sense is he at once impossible and necessary? The other is both the proof of my existence and the limit that establishes my need for ethics or freedom.

Kamel Daoud is an Algerian writer and journalist. Daoud edits the French language daily Le quotidien d'Oran where he contributes a popular commentary on the news under the title "Raina Raikoum" ("My Opinion, Your Opinion") in French.

Daoud's debut novel The Meursault Investigation (Meursault, contre-enquête) is his first novel; it is considered a literary and historical retelling of Albert Camus's celebrated novel, The Stranger. Within the first few years of its publication, the novel gained great acclaim and popularity. In 2014 it won the Prix François-Mauriac as well as the Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie, and was a finalist for Prix Goncourt; and in 2015 it received the Prix Goncourt for first novel. In April 2015, an excerpt from The Meursault Investigation was featured in The New Yorker magazine.

Please note: this talk will be in French followed by a brief summary in English. The Q&A session will be in French and English.

The Harvard Bookstore will be selling signed copies of The Meursault Investigation before and after the talk.

Seating will be first come, first served.

Contact: Liz Flanagan