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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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I am grateful to many people for the help they provided me at various stages of this project. First of all, I would like to thank Amy DiGiovine for her support and thoughtful reading of the manuscript. Special thanks also go to John Foster Robertson, who provided valuable feedback on various sections of the book and to the interlibrary loan officers of Northern Virginia Community College— Annandale, Bill Fleming and Sarah Lawless, who always responded promptly and cheerfully to my never-ending requests. Another debt I am delighted to acknowl- edge is to Dr. Abdelaziz Bettayeb for his help regarding some thorny translation issues. I would also like to express my gratitude to my brother, Saïd, and my nephew, Lamara; the former for going out of his way to send me all the books I asked for, and the latter for his help with financial transactions involving Parisian publishers. Finally, I wish to thank Cathy Kiami O’Malley for reviewing the list of references. I would like to extend my gratitude to Mr. Mohamed Sennaoui who opened my eyes to the wonderful world of literature at Aïn-Séfra High School. Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders for the works repro- duced herein. In some instances I have been unable to trace the owners of copy- righted material, and I would appreciate any information that would enable me to do so in the future.

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