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Author Bensmaïa, Réda.

Title Experimental nations, or, The invention of the Maghreb / Réda Bensmaïa ; translated by Alyson Waters.

Published Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2003.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  840.9961 BENS    AVAILABLE
Uniform title Nations expérimentales. English
Physical description xii, 215 pages ; 24 cm.
Series Translation/transnation.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents Introduction: Is an "Experimental" Nation Possible? 1 -- 1 Nations of Writers 11 -- 1. Cultural "Terrain" 11 -- 2. A New Geolinguistics 14 -- 2 Cities of Writers 27 -- 1. Imaginary of the Medina in Francophone Literature from the Maghreb 27 -- 2. Algiers/Paris, or the City as a "Site of Memory": Merzak Allouache's Salut Cousin 38 -- 3 Nabile Fares, or How to Become "Minoritarian" 47 -- 4 Postcolonial Nations: Political or Poetic Allegories? (On Tahar Djaout's L'invention du desert) 67 -- 5 (Hi)stories of Expatriation: Virtual Countries 83 -- 1. Assia Djebar's La Nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua: Introduction to the Cinematic Fragment 83 -- 6 Multilingualism and National "Traits" 99 -- 1. "Translating or Whiting Out Language": On Khatibi's Amour Bilingue 99 -- 2. On Khatibi's Notion of the "Professional Traveler" 124 -- 3. Writing Metafiction: On Khatibi's Le livre du sang 135 -- 7 Cartography of the Nation: Mouloud Feraoun's Le fils du pauvre Revisited 149 -- 8 By Way of a Conclusion 159 -- Appendix Le Depays: On Chris Marker's Lettre de Siberie (1957) 165.
Summary Jean-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 no French, or a broader audience beyond Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia? In Experimental Nations, Reda Bensmaia argues powerfully against the tendency to view their works not as literary creations worth considering for their innovative style or language but as "ethnographic" texts and to appraise them only against the "French literary canon." 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 novels and films, Abdelkebir Khatabi's prose poems or critical essays, or the novels 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.
Other author Waters, Alyson, 1955-
Subject North African literature (French) -- History and criticism.
Variant Title Experimental nations.
Invention of the Maghreb.
ISBN 0691089361 (alk. paper)
069108937X (paperback: alk. paper)