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The Transcontinental MaghrebFrancophone Literature across the Mediterranean$
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Edwige Tamalet Talbayev

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823275151

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823275151.001.0001

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Hybridizing the Myth, Allegorizing Algeria

Hybridizing the Myth, Allegorizing Algeria

Chapter:
(p.37) Chapter 1 Hybridizing the Myth, Allegorizing Algeria
Source:
The Transcontinental Maghreb
Author(s):

Edwige Tamalet Talbayev

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823275151.003.0002

This chapter teases out the ways in which Kateb Yacine’s Nedjma resists the cohesive power of the Algerian myth of origins elaborated around the time of independence to reveal a Mediterranean transnationalism. The chapter starts by interrogating the conflicted history of the colonial concept of Mediterranean hybridity as both cultural syncretism and biological assimilation from the 1890s to the late colonial period. It then examines exile and the predominance of subjective estrangement in Kateb’s writing. In light of virtually unknown fragments cut out of Nedjma, it shows that the quest for Algeria’s identity cannot be completed without spatial deployment in the Mediterranean island of Djerba. Djerba supplies a model of felicitous mixing between strata of Mediterranean migrations, providing late colonial Algeria with a mythical space where to hone the very workings of its nation-building aspirations in a plural context evocative of Algeria’s own diversity. Kateb’s text reveals a Mediterranean ethos at the core of Algeria’s founding narrative, performing what writer Nabile Farès later dubbed the “re-allegorization of national myth” in a Mediterranean mode.

Keywords:   allegory, Gabriel Audisio, Albert Camus, colonialism, Djerba, hybridity, myth, nationalism, transnational, Kateb Yacine

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