, gradual realization that literary creativity implies not a strict adherence of self to self, but a distanciation from one's self, which only the experience of viewing oneself reflected in the strangers' eyes, as an outsider-as the other's other-can in fact procure. This, Besant seems to realize here, requires a certain degree of familiarity with the other's language-an experience of alterity which, in the psychoanalytical parlance, is often the key to the language of the Other. My suggestion, therefore, is that Besant's borderline experiences in such uncanny zones, haunted by the various voices of the ghosts of colonial History, both caused and cured his existential crisis. The outcome of this crisis was no less than Besant's "take-off" as a creative writer, Pas si bête" (Besant 1869 : 11) in the first twenty pages, is to be compared to the following pages abounding in foreign words and expressions not primarily aimed at local colour but testifying to the effects of Besant's immersion in the other's language: "métier, 1863.

W. Besant, Autobiography of Sir Walter Besant, 1902.

D. Vaux and C. Grant, Viscount. The History of Mauritius and the Neighbouring Islands, 1801.

D. Hollingworth, They Came to Mauritius; Portraits of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, 1965.