By Debra Kelly
In Autobiography and Independence, Debra Kelly examines 4 finished Francophone North African writers—Mouland Feroan, Assia Djebar, Albert Memmi, and Abdelk?bir Khatibi—to remove darkness from the complicated courting of a writer's paintings to cultural and nationwide histories. The legacies of colonialism and the problems of nationalism run all through all 4 writers' works, but of their amazing individuality, the 4 reveal the ways that such heritages are refracted via a writer's own heritage. This publication might be of curiosity to scholars of Francophone literature, colonialism, and African historical past and tradition. (10/10/2006)
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Additional resources for Autobiography and Independence: Self and Identity in North African Writing in French (Liverpool University Press - Contemporary French & Francophone Cultures)
He can think of himself as an “individual”. ’76 She also argues that there is in women’s autobiographical practice a resistance against the ‘individualistic concept of the autobiographical’ that challenges traditional definitions of autobiography, and that a feature of women’s Auto & Ind pages rev again 36 1/2/05 4:27 PM Page 36 Autobiography and Independence autobiography is collective identity and interdependent identification. Of particular interest for this study is the analogy that Friedman makes between Gusdorf’s description of a culture in which autobiography is impossible and what she calls the ‘marginalised cultures of women’, a type of culture without the elements Gusdorf considers to be the necessary preconditions for autobiography, a culture in which the individual does not oppose himself to all others; [in which] he does not feel himself to exist outside of others, and still less against others, but very much with others in an interdependent existence that asserts its rhythms everywhere in the community […in which] lives are so thoroughly entangled that each of them has its center everywhere and its circumference nowhere.
Je suis plusieurs, toute une foule de colonisés et de protégés’, écrivait Driss Chraïbi en 1962 dans Succession ouverte. On peut bien avancer alors que quand le romancier dit ‘je’, il pense souvent ‘nous’. Et pourtant, nous constatons bien une émergence du ‘je’ dans la narration chez un certain nombre d’auteurs lors de la naissance de cette littérature maghrébine, mais surtout dans les récits de vie. Les romanciers ont voulu mettre en évidence leur moi, ceci dans un contexte d’acculturation française et de modèles venant de l’école moderne occidentale, mais aussi dans une évolution des pays maghrébins eux-mêmes vers la modernité aux prises avec les changements socioéconomiques et les mutations dans les mentalités sous la pression de l’étranger colonisateur, hier, et des bouleversements intervenant dans le monde.
Déjeux crucially does not make the distinction between individualism and individuality that Karl Weintraub has been at such great pains to maintain, and neither does Gusdorf. Indeed, Gusdorf’s analysis would suggest that it is from the notion of individuality and not individualism that the autobiographical impulse stems in the male-dominated Western autobiographical canon. Yet as, for example, feminist criticism has shown, there are other attitudes both to the relationship between the individual and society, and to the writing of the personal experience of this.
Autobiography and Independence: Self and Identity in North African Writing in French (Liverpool University Press - Contemporary French & Francophone Cultures) by Debra Kelly