The Twentieth-Century Periodical in French
Andy Stafford ‘Dynamite explosée dans les arcanes pourris des vieux humanismes’
: A Literature of Politics or a Politics of Literature? Souf f les, 1966–1972 A poetry journal that was characterized by the violence of its language – in French and Arabic, in poetry and prose – and saw its editor receive a ten- year prison sentence for sedition would be worthy of attention for these reasons alone. This chapter’s analysis of the Moroccan avant-garde journal Souf f les traces the tortuous trajectory taken by the founding figures of the journal, Abdellatif Laâbi and Mustapha Nissaboury, across the second half of the 1960s. Navigating between an empty European avant-gardism of ‘beer-drinkers’ on the one side, and the ‘écartelements’ besetting their Maghrebian literary elders on the other, Souf f les put forward its view of the new literature emerging from newly decolonized nations. Allied with the Moroccan writers Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine and Tahar Ben Jelloun, the journal was involved in what has been called ‘la violence du texte’. Souf f les also defined itself, quite radically, in relation to a nation-building ideology that favoured a monarchical, semi-totalitarian regime under Hassan II. As well as linking painting with poetry, the jour- nal would be further radicalized by the Palestinian question, and one of its first decisions in respect of this was to produce a parallel journal in Arabic (Anfas) from 1970 onwards. In other words, Souf f les explored – as this chapter will do – not just a politics of literature and a literature of politics, but also a politics of language, which would make...
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