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Algerian Literature

A Reader’s Guide and Anthology


Abdelkader Aoudjit

The only up-to-date and comprehensive text and reader of Algerian literature available in English, Algerian Literature: A Reader’s Guide and Anthology offers the reader a historical and critical overview of the literature from the early twentieth century to the present, introduces Algerian authors, and provides selections from a wide range of their writings, many translated here for the first time. It begins with an overview chapter that charts the evolution of Algerian literature and puts it in its proper historical context, followed by five thematic chapters: decolonization and cultural affirmation, the War of Independence, modernization and its discontents, emigration, and history. The chapters begin with introductions on the themes under discussion and the selections are preceded by biographies of the authors, as well as detailed summaries of the larger works from which they are extracted. Finally, each chapter concludes with a bibliography and sources for readers seeking additional information and insight.

The selections included in Algerian Literature: A Reader’s Guide and Anthology have been carefully chosen to reflect the richness and diversity of Algerian literature. Accordingly, they are extracted from various literary genres: novels, plays, and poems. Furthermore, they are from works that belong to different literary movements: realism, modernism, and postmodernism.

The variety and the outstanding quality of the selections, along with the superb introductions, summaries, and biographies make Algerian Literature: A Reader’s Guide and Anthology an ideal text for courses in Algerian, Francophone, and world literature courses. It will also be of interest to general readers outside the classroom who want to broaden their literary horizons.

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Abbas, Ferhat: Born in Taher in 1899, trained as a pharmacist, president of the Association des Etudiants Musulmans d’Afrique du Nord (Association of the Muslim Students of the Maghreb, 1924–9). He founded in 1927, together with Dr. Benjelloun, the Fédération des Élus Indigènes (Federation of Elected Natives). He was at first a supporter of assimilation. During the Second World War he wrote the Manifeste du Peuple Algérien (a programme of reforms rejecting assimilation) which was signed by 56 Algerian notables and was presented to the French authorities. He founded the Association des Amis du Manifeste et de 1a Liberté (1944), banned in 1945. Arrested in the aftermath of the May 1945 events, he founded the Union Démocratique du Manifeste Algérien (UDMA) in 1946. He joined the FLN (May/June 1955). He became the first president of the Gouvernement Provisoire de la République Algérienne (GPRA) in 1958 and president of the Constituent Assembly of the new state in 1963.

Aïd: Religious holiday.

Aïd al-kebir: Commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son.

Aïd al-seghir: Marks the end of Ramadan.

Aït: From the family of, belonging to.

Andalus: Muslim Iberia (Spain and Portugal).

Alger Républicain: Communist daily newspaper. Both Dib and Kateb worked for it.

ALN: Armée de Libération Nationale. Military wing of the National Liberation Front (FLN) during the War...

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