Contemporary French writing on the Maghreb—that part of Africa above the Sahara—is truly postmodern in scope, the rich product of multifaceted histories promoting the blending of two worlds, two identities, two cultures, and two languages.
Nomadic Voices of Exile demonstrates how that postmodern sentiment has altered perceptions concerning Maghrebian feminine identity since the end of the French-colonial era. The authors discussed here, both those who reside in the Maghreb and those who have had to seek asylum in France, find themselves at the intersection of French and North African viewpoints, exposing a complicated world that must be negotiated and redefined.
In looking at the authors whose writings extend beyond a gender-based dialogue to include such issues as race, politics, religion, and history, Valérie Orlando explores the rich and changing landscape of the literature and the culture, addresses the stereotypes that have defined the past, and navigates the space of the exiled, a space previously at the peripheries of Western discourse.
Nomadic Voices of Exile will be useful to a variety of classrooms—women’s studies, Middle East studies, Francophone literature, Third World women writers—and to anyone interested in postcolonial and postmodern theory and philosophy and the history of the Maghreb through literature.
Valérie K. Orlando is professor of French and Francophone Literatures in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Maryland, CollegeP ark. More info →
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Why should Salman Rushdie describe his truth telling as an act of swallowing impure “haram” flesh from which the blood has not been drained? Why should Rudyard Kipling cast Kim, the imperial child–agent, as a body/text written upon and damaged by empire? Why should E. M. Forster evoke through the Indian landscape the otherwise unspeakable racial or homosexual body in his writing?
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Between Sea and Sahara gives us Algeria in the third decade of colonization. Written in the 1850s by the gifted painter and extraordinary writer Eugene Fromentin, the many-faceted work is travelogue, fiction, stylized memoir, and essay on art. Fromentin paints a compelling word picture of Algeria and its people, questioning France’s—and his own—role there.
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