This paper will consider the defining of hospitality and inhospitality in more than one language in relation to ‘man’ and his ‘others’. In particular, Professor Still’s focus will be on ‘welcoming animals’, and the problem of reciprocity. Key examples drawn from the rich bestiary of real and imaginary lives will be, in company with Marie NDiaye and Marie Darrieussecq, dogs, wolves and pigs: guardians, predators and prey perhaps metamorphosing into emotional or physical sustenance, friends, lovers or food. Caring, sheltering, eating and being eaten are returning tropes in tales of hospitality, or monstrous inhospitality, about men and women, masters and slaves, the civilised and savages, the human and the animal. These are also realities, whether largely visible or invisible, not only in exceptional encounters in foreign parts, but also in daily lives: who cares, who eats, and who is eaten?
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14 December 2023