Autobiography and Independence: Selfhood and Creativity in North African Postcolonial Writing in French

Autobiography and Independence: Selfhood and Creativity in North African Postcolonial Writing in French

Autobiography and Independence: Selfhood and Creativity in North African Postcolonial Writing in French

Autobiography and Independence: Selfhood and Creativity in North African Postcolonial Writing in French

Excerpt

Une vie d'écriture m'a appris à me méfier des mots. Ceux qui paraissent les
plus limpides sont souvent les plus traîtres. L'un de ces faux amis est juste
ment 'identité'. Nous croyons tous savoir ce que ce mot veut dire, et nous
continuons à lui faire confiance même quand, insidieusement, il se met à dire
le contraire.

Amin Maalouf, Les Identités meutrières

(A life of writing has taught me to mistrust words. Those which seem the
most transparent are often the most treacherous. One of those false friends
is precisely 'identity'. We all think we know what that word means, and we
continue to trust it even when, insidiously, it starts saying the opposite.)

This book explores the question of the relationship between the writer's self and literary expression. The work of each of the four writers studied here provides a space for a meditation on the act of literary creation and on the ways in which that act intervenes in the world. Mouloud Feraoun, Assia Djebar, Albert Memmi and Abdelkébir Khatibi were born in three different countries in North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco) during the first half of the twentieth century, and have varied origins: Kabyle, Berber, Sephardi Jew, Arab. They share a complex relationship to language, since all of them write in French, a legacy of colonial intervention in those countries, but this relationship varies according to differences in ethnic identity, class and gender. The texts studied here were published over a fifty-year period (the second half of the twentieth century) and they are therefore intimately bound up with the histories of European colonialism, war, decolonisation, and independence. The individuals who wrote them therefore engage not only with their own personal histories, but also with the collective histories of North Africa and of Europe. The notion of 'identity' is necessarily a focus of the readings here, even though, as Amin Maalouf, a Lebanese writer who lives in France, warns us above, this is a term that has been much used and abused. Not only are the origins and identities of these writers different from each other and complex in their own right, but so are those of the geographical region into which they were born. Khatibi has written . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.