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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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Tahar Ouettar, The Ace



Novelist, essayist, political activist, and one of Algeria’s most articulate social commentators, Tahar Ouettar was born near Sedrata August 15, 1936. He was educated at the Abdelhamid Ben Badis Institute in Constantine and at the Zitouna University in Tunis from 1952 to 1956 when he joined the civilian branch of the FLN. After the war, he ran a weekly newspaper Al-Ahrar (The Free Men) in Constantine, but after a short period he settled permanently in Algiers where he was in charge of another newspaper, Al-Djamahir (The Masses). Both newspapers stopped publishing after just a few issues. From 1970 to 1983 Ouettar served as the controller of the FLN party. He retired in 1983 but was later appointed CEO of the Algerian national radio. He was one of the founders of and for a few years the president of the highly visible cultural association, Al-Djahidhiya. A committed socialist, Ouettar wrote to improve the situation of the common people, bearing witness to social and political problems. In his novels and short stories, he poignantly dramatizes all the ups and downs of Algerian history since the 1950s and was at the forefront of all its battles. Also an ardent nationalist, he fought for the independence of his country in the 1950s, he championed the agrarian revolution of the 1970s, was a vocal opponent of fundamentalists, and was a supporter of the revalorization of the Amazigh heritage of the country. Ouettar’s works include the plays Al-Haarib (the Fugitive, 1958)...

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