6. Pauline de Noirfontaine’ s “Un regard écrit: Algérie” Unveiling Human Nature in Times of Sanitary Crises

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Abdeldjalil Larbi Youcef


Following Covid19, the exceptional increase in sales of The Plague, penned by the Algeria-born philosopher Albert Camus, has ranked his novel among those whose revival is most asserted. Much less known, however, is Pauline de Noirfontaine’s un regard écrit: Algérie (1856), a collection of letters sent from Oran—1849 to 1851—which she hoped might gain in retrospective interest. Despite their generic difference—novel and correspondence—the thematic and actantial convergence of these two works published a century apart motivates their perception according to a form of literary communication in which Camus would probably have found some of his inspiration. This paper draws on De Noirfontaine’s third letter. The argument is that her document, far beyond a description of an epidemic, actually exposes human nature in times of crises.

Keywords: Algeria, Oran, Cholera, Plague, Human Nature, Noirfontaine Pauline de


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