The Colonizer and the Colonized

· Plunkett Lake Press

About this ebook

Written in 1956 when Morocco and Tunisia gained independence from France and soon after the Algerian war had started, this book describes the inescapable bonds between colonizer and colonized. Born in Tunis, Memmi is one of the colonized, but as a Jew, he identified culturally with the colonizer. He moved to France in 1956 and draws on his experience to analyze vividly how colonizer and colonized are mutually dependent, and ultimately both victims of colonialism.

The Colonizer and the Colonized [is] now regarded as a classic description of the inner dynamics of racism and colonialism, a work that in its economic and political sophistication, its sober perceptions of the interdependence of colonizer and colonized, rivals Franz Fanon’s more famous but more romantic Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth.” — Richard Locke, The New York Times

“The subject of colonialism has rarely been treated more lucidly and devastatingly than in this book.” — Library Journal

“Widely influential.” — New Yorker

“Confiscated by colonial police throughout the world since its 1957 publication, The Colonizer and the Colonized is an important document of our times, an invaluable warning for all future generations.” — Los Angeles Times

“Albert Memmi’s characterology of master and servant has a personal as well as a social dimension. The pecking order he describes has its accurate analogues in the lives of middle-class Americans.” — Emile Capouya, Saturday Review

About the author

Albert Memmi was born in Tunisia in 1920, the second of thirteen children of a poor, working-class Arabic-speaking Jewish family. He learned French in his Jewish elementary school and attended Lycée Carnot in Tunis. When the Nazis invaded Tunisia during World War II, he was unable to continue his studies and interned in a labor camp. He moved to Paris in 1945 where he met Germaine Dubach, a Catholic, whom he married in 1946. The couple moved back to Tunis, where two of their three children were born, and where Memmi taught high school philosophy and helped found a publication that would later become Jeune Afrique.

His first book, the autobiographical novel The Pillar of Salt, appeared in 1953. After Tunisia became independent in 1956, Memmi — a prominent leftist and Jew — returned to Paris where he has lived ever since. During the Algerian war, he publishedThe Colonizer and the Colonized with a preface by Jean-Paul Sartre, in 1957. Portrait of a Jew and The Liberation of the Jew were published by Gallimard in 1962 and 1966. Memmi became a French citizen in 1973. He taught at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and Université de Paris-Nanterre, received the Académie Française’s Grand Prix de la Francophonie and is a Doctor Honoris Causa of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

Howard Greenfeld (1929-2006) grew up in New York City, graduated from Columbia University, and has lived in Rome, Florence, and Camaiore, Italy, and in Paris, France.

He has written twenty books for young adults, and biographies of Marc Chagall, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Puccini, Caruso, and the art collector Albert C. Barnes. He was also the founder of Orion Press and published English-language translations of such writers as Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, and Jean Piaget.

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