French Hospitality Racism and North African Immigrants

ISBN-10: 0231113765
ISBN-13: 9780231113762
Edition: 1999
List price: $50.00 Buy it from $4.13
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Description: The award-winning novelist and author of the international bestseller Racism Explained to My Daughter uses his own experience to illuminate the experience of the Other in his adopted land -- and everywhere. A Moroccan who emigrated to France in  More...

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Book details

List price: $50.00
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 11/16/1999
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 164
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

The award-winning novelist and author of the international bestseller Racism Explained to My Daughter uses his own experience to illuminate the experience of the Other in his adopted land -- and everywhere. A Moroccan who emigrated to France in 1971, Tahar Ben Jelloun draws upon his own encounters with racism along with his insights as a practicing psychologist and gifted novelist to elucidate the racial divisions that plague contemporary society. In a modern France where openly racist leaders such as National Front spokesman Jean-Marie Le Pen have made significant strides toward broad popular acceptance, Ben Jelloun's book is more topical now than ever. His profound and compelling appeal for tolerance -- in both public discourse and the law -- is a passionate yet reasoned argument that racism simply does not make sense in the multicultural world of today. French Hospitality confronts issues of international resonance: the relationship of a formerly colonized people to their onetime colonizers, the encounter between Islam and the modern Judeo-Christian West, and the status of the non-European minorities in Europe today. Underlying these issues is a heartfelt nostalgia for simple, traditional North African hospitality as practiced since time immemorial by a relatively poor and unsophisticated society. Ben Jelloun supplements this rather noble ideal of generosity and welcoming by borrowing the philosophical concept of hospitality -- the opening of oneself to another -- from the works of Emmanuel Lvinas and Jacques Derrida in order to illustrate the moral conception of a nation's unconditional acceptance of foreigners. Isn't the belief in welcoming strangers a fundamental mark of civilization? In a political climate where increasingly repressive immigration laws are a national trend as well as an international phenomenon, he contends, it is not surprising that racism has gained a foothold. Most hurt by racist polemic and politics, he points out, are children of immigrants -- born in France, their memories are those of the French people, and they deserve to be treated with the full respect afforded to any citizen. With his elegant and imaginative prose, Ben Jelloun shows us both racism's face and the immigrant's heartbreak; but he also evokes the wind of freedom and the ideal of hospitality, and with this gesture offers a kind of hope in extricating ourselves from racism's recidivist incoherencies.

Controversial winner of the prestigious French Prix Goncourt (1987), Tahar Ben Jelloun is a Moroccan writer who has not found much favor at home, despite his growing popularity abroad. According to some North African critics, Ben Jelloun intentionally sets out to please foreign readers. They contend that his writing reinforces European stereotypes by pandering to Western tastes for quaint folklore and traditions, and exotic scenery. Moroccan critics have accused Ben Jelloun of creating artificial, fabricated stories that fail to convey a true picture of Morocco. They have also been offended by his criticism of Morocco, and the fact that he reveals sides of Moroccan life that are usually kept hidden. Ben Jelloun's story of a girl dressed as a boy, L'Enfant du Sable (The Sand Child) (1985), was scandalous in their eyes. Since Ben Jelloun won the Prix Goncourt, a number of critics changed their minds and have begun to praise his work.

Jean Giono was born in France on March 30, 1985. He was an author about whom Germaine Bree and M. Guiton have written, "When Giono's first novel, Colline (Hill of Destiny) appeared in 1929, it struck a fresh, new note. . . . After Proust and Gide, Duhamel and Romains, Cocteau and Giraudoux, what could be more restful than a world of wind and sun and simple men who apparently had never heard of psychological analysis, never confronted any social problems, never read any books. . ." (An Age of Fiction). Raised by his shoemaker father in a small town in the south of France, Giono's fiction has its roots in the peasant life of Provence. Horrified by his experiences in World War I, Giono returned to the world of his youth, which became the world of his imagination. After the shock of World War II, his novels seemed to gain in stature. One of his best is Horseman on the Roof (1951), his chronicle of the great cholera epidemic of 1838. Giono was honoured with the Prince Rainier of Monaco literary prize in 1953, awarded for his lifetime achievements, was elected to the Acad�mie Goncourt in 1954, and became a member of the Conseil Litt�raire of Monaco in 1963. Giono died of a heart attack in 1970.Barbara Bray (n�e Jacobs) was born on November 24, 1924 in Paddington, London. She died on February 25, 2010. Bray was an English translator and critic. She translated the correspondence of Gustave Flaubert, and work by leading French speaking writers of her own time including Marguerite Duras, Amin Maalouf, Julia Kristeva, Michel Quint, Jean Anouilh, Michel Tournier, Jean Genet, Alain Bosquet, R�jean Ducharme and Philippe Sollers. She received the PEN Translation Prize in 1986. She had a personal and professional relationship with the married Samuel Beckett that continued for the rest of his life, and Bray was one of the few people with whom he discussed his work. Bray suffered a stroke at the end of 2003, but despite this disability she continued to write Beckett's memoirs, Let Mortals Rejoice..., which she could not complete. Bray recorded some of her reflections about Beckett in a series of conversations with her friend, Marek Kedzierski, from 2004 to 2009. Excerpts have been published in many languages, but not English as of yet.

Introduction
The Laws of Hospitality
A Racism Both Deep and Superficial
A Peaceful Popular Racism
Selective Indignation
A Sordid Image
The Old and the New
The State as Salesman
The Myth of Return
The Aesthetes of Silence
Conclusion
Notes
Index

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