Bartin-Yansen, Nadiège Firmin. “Assimilation ou rejet”, Boston College, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108466.
Practice whereby a host (the one who receives) open his/her door to a guest (the one who is either invited or simply received), hospitality is nowadays under fire as the migrant crisis unfolds the plight of countless strangers who, at the end of their perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea, come and knock at the doors of Europe, in particular France—birthplace of the Rights of Man. Taking the stand of Louis de Jaucourt on the socio-political challenges of hospitality outlined in his 18th century French article, Hospitalité, as the point of departure of our study, we focus on how hospitality intersects with social criticism through the person of the stranger in the following corpus of literary texts, which spans from the 18th to the 20th century: 1. Lettres persanes (Montesquieu), Lettres philosophiques (Voltaire), and L’Ile des Esclaves (Marivaux); 2. L’Ingénu (Voltaire), Lettres d’une Péruvienne (Françoise de Graffigny), and Ourika (Claire de Duras) ; 3. La Noire de… (Sembène Ousmane), and Xavier, le drame d’un émigré Antillais (Tony Delsham). Here, we enter in dialogue with Julia Kristeva’s essay, Etrangers à nous-mêmes, namely the chapter she writes about philosophers of the Enlightenment: L’Etranger : alter ego du philosophe. She argues that, as a satirical modus operandi, these philosophers withdraw behind the figure of the stranger, who then becomes their “double”, their “mask” (196). We show that Kristeva’s argument is not only limited to the works of 18th century French philosophers, but also to those of their literary heirs, who ascribe rather to the “mask” of the stranger of color, and moreover the hospitality he/she receives in France, as a satirical tool to lay bare the flaws of their own society.