This book offers an in-depth study of the autobiographical writings of four twentieth-century writers from North Africa, Assia Djebar, Mouloud Feraoun, Abdelkébir Khatibi and Albert Memmi, as they explore issues of language, identity and the individual’s relationship to history. The book places these writers in a clearly defined theoretical context, introducing and contextualising each of the four through the application of postcolonial studies and literary theory on autobiography linked to close textual reading of their works. Avoiding both psychoanalytical theory and approaches concerned primarily with the writer’s ‘testimony value’, Kelly concentrates instead on the poetic and literary qualities of each author’s work, dwelling on the politics and poetics of identity, as well as the ethics and aesthetics of this literature. She includes clear discussions of key terms such as ‘postcolonial’, ‘Francophone’, and ‘autobiography’, which current academic discourse has rendered very complex and even opaque. The book includes a fascinating photograph of two stone tablets inscribed with Punic and Numidian scripts, now held in the British Museum, which Assia Djebar writes about at length in one of the texts studied in the book.
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