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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Assia Djebar's 'Algerian Quartet': a study in fragmented autobiography
Author:Mortimer, MildredISNI
Year:1997
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Volume:28
Issue:2
Pages:102-117
Language:English
Geographic term:Algeria
Subjects:literature
autobiography
About person:Assia Djebar (1936-) pseud. for Fatima-Zohra Imalayène
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3820446
Abstract:The Algerian writer Assia Djebar considers her experience with the French colonial educational system in Algeria as ambiguous. She came to believe that the process of Western acculturation, resulting in her mastery of the colonizer's language and access to public space, excluded her from most, if not all, aspects of the traditional woman's world. This sentiment of exclusion led to her 'Quatuor algérien', a writing project to reestablish links with the maternal world from which she felt distanced. To date, three of the four projected volumes of the Algerian quartet have appeared: 'L'amour, la fantasia' (1985), 'Ombre sultane' (1987), and 'Vaste est la prison' (1995). In 'L'amour, la fantasia' Djebar interweaves autobiographical fragments with other strands of narrative (colonial history, oral narrative, lyric poetry). 'Ombre sultane' combines a first and second-person narrative of parallel lives and female bonding, creating links between autobiography and fictional narrative. 'Vaste est la prison' probes the relationship of autofiction to cinema by evoking the filming of 'La Nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua' in a series of chapters interspersed in the novel. Djebar's polyphonic texts containing autobiographical fragments mark a new approach to autobiography as they blur the boundaries between fact and fiction and ignore the promise to the reader that the textual and referential 'I' are one and the same. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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