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- DescriptionJean-Paul Sartre's famous question, For whom do we write? strikes close to home for francophone writers from the Maghreb. Do these writers address their compatriots, many of whom are illiterate or read French, or a broader audience beyond Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia? In Experimental Nations, Reda Bensmaia argues powerfully against the tendency to view their works t as literary creations worth considering for their invative style or language but as ethgraphic texts and to appraise them only against the French literary can. He casts fresh light on the original literary strategies many such writers have deployed to reappropriate their cultural heritage and reconfigure their nations in the decades since colonialism. Tracing the move from the anticolonial, nationalist, and arabist literature of the early years to the relative cosmopolitanism and diversity of Maghrebi francophone literature today, Bensmaia draws on contemporary literary and postcolonial theory to deterritorialize its study. Whether in Assia Djebar's vels and films, Abdelkebir Khatabi's prose poems or critical essays, or the vels of Nabile Fares, Abdelwahab Meddeb, or Mouloud Feraoun, he raises the veil that hides the intrinsic richness of these artists' works from the eyes of even an attentive audience. Bensmaia shows us how such Maghrebi writers have opened their nations as territories to rediscover and stake out, to invent, while creating a new language. In presenting this masterful account of virtual but veritable nations, he sets forth a new and fertile topography for francophone literature.
- Author BiographyReda Bensmaia is University Professor of French Studies and Comparative Literature at Brown University. He is the author of The Barthes Effect , The Year of Passages , and a novel entitled Alger ou la maladie de la memoire .
- PrizesCommended for MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Studies 2004.
- Author(s)Reda Bensmaia
- PublisherPrinceton University Press
- Date of Publication25/02/2003
- SubjectLiterary Criticism
- Series TitleTranslation/Transnation
- Place of PublicationNew Jersey
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintPrinceton University Press
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight342 g
- Width152 mm
- Height235 mm
- Spine13 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
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