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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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1. Antecedents and Evolution of Algerian Literature


| 15 [Amour et Liberté L’Amour et la Liberté se tiennent par la main Comme les amants après l’éclat d’un orage Dites ce moment mes frères ! Les campagnes dansent de joie les usines chantent dans Les villes Le blé dore les visages l’acier colore les yeux L’Autogestion anime un peuple heureux Le Dinar reflète Abdelkader le Prince des Héros L’enfant à L’Ecole maternelle arrache les épines au tableau La Grand-Mère roule le couscous la Baraka pleines les mains Le Grand-Père égrène pieusement l’Histoire de l’Algérie Le lait de la jeune épouse monte la bouche du jeune époux ouvrier L’adolescente écorche les dernières ténèbres Et toi plaine de perles au soleil levant Tout entière fertile aux caresses de ma main Tu es la toujours constante illimitée Fille de la Révolution et de la Bonté.] (M’Hamsadji, 1965, p. 110) Translated by kind permission of Kaddour M’Hamsadji “Poem-Program,” Jean Sénac Another poet who saw himself as a prophet for the national cause is Jean Sénac15 who wrote: 15. One of Algeria’s leading poets and most forceful supporters of the country’s independence, Jean Sénac was born on November 29, 1926, in Béni Saf of a Spanish mother and an unknown father. His mother changed his name from hers to that of his stepfather, perhaps because Sénac sounds more French than the Spanish, Comma, or, more likely, to put his illegitimate birth behind. His early poetry collected...

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