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Scattered Letters

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Translingual Poetics in Assia Djebar’s L’Amour, la fantasia

image of Philological Encounters

In Assia Djebar’s L’amour, la fantasia, the narrator describes the linguistic resonance of her mother’s claim that her daughter “reads”—by which she implies, via Arabic, that her daughter studies. The circularity of an Arabic expression spoken in French makes the scene both descriptive and performative of the sorts of migrations, displacements and appropriations at play in this Algerian novel. In what language ought such multilingual work be read? By looking at inter and intra-lingual travels, this article emphasizes slippages between texts and readers, French and Arabic, and postcolonial and world literature. We encounter here less a lingua franca—that is, a global French or francophone framework—than we do the fundamental instability of any particular language in this internally translating text that travels from French to Arabic and ultimately into a market for readers in other languages.

Affiliations: 1: University of Oregon


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1. Bensmaïa Réda Experimental Nations: Or, the Invention of the Maghreb 2003 Princeton Princeton University Press
2. Bensmaïa Réda"“Nations of Writers”" Studies in Twentieth Century Literature 1999Vol 23 163 178
3. Djebar Assia Blair Dorothy S. Fantasia: An Algerian Calvacade 1993 Portsmith Heineman
4. Djebar Assia L’Amour, la fantasia 1995 Paris Editions Albin Michel
5. Donadey Anne"“The Multilingual Strategies of Postcolonial Literature: Assia Djebar’s Algerian Palimpsest”" World Literature Today 2000Vol 74 27 36 [Crossref]
6. Erickson John"“Assia Djebar’s L’Amour, la fantasia”" Islam and Postcolonial Narrative 1998 Cambridge Cambridge University Press [Crossref]
7. Gauvin Lise Langagement: L’écrivain et la langue au Québec 2000 Montréal Boréal
8. Harrison Nicholas Postcolonial Criticism: History, Theory and the Work of Fiction 2003 Cambridge Polity Press
9. Khatibi Abdelkebir Bennani Jalil , et al"“Incipits”" Du bilinguisme 1985 Paris Denoël
10. Mortimer Mildred"“Edward Said and Assia Djebar: A Contrapuntal Reading”" Research in African Literature 2005Vol 36 53 67 [Crossref]
11. Mortimer Mildred"“Writing the Personal: The Evolution of Assia Djebar’s Autobiographical Project from L’Amour, La Fantasia to Nulle Part Dans La Maison de Mon Père”" Journal of Women’s History 2013Vol 25 111 129 [Crossref]
12. Tageldin Shaden"“Which Qalam for Algeria? Colonialism, Liberation, and Language in Djebar’s L’Amour, La fantasia and Mustaghānami’s Dhākirat al-Jasad”" Comparative Literature Studies 2009Vol 46 467 497 [Crossref]
13. Wehrs Donald"“The ‘Sensible,’ the Maternal, and the Ethical Beginnings of Feminist Islamic Discourse in Assia Djebar’s Djebar, la fantasia and Loin de Médine”" Modern Language Notes 2003Vol 118 841 866

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