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By Debra Kelly

In Autobiography and Independence, Debra Kelly examines 4 entire Francophone North African writers—Mouland Feroan, Assia Djebar, Albert Memmi, and Abdelk?bir Khatibi—to remove darkness from the advanced courting of a writer's paintings to cultural and nationwide histories. The legacies of colonialism and the problems of nationalism run all through all 4 writers' works, but of their notable individuality, the 4 reveal the ways that such heritages are refracted via a writer's own historical past. This e-book should be of curiosity to scholars of Francophone literature, colonialism, and African background and tradition. (10/10/2006)

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Extra info for Autobiography and Independence: Self and Identity in North African Writing in French (Liverpool University Press - Contemporary French & Francophone Cultures)

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76 She also argues that there is in women’s autobiographical practice a resistance against the ‘individualistic concept of the autobiographical’ that challenges traditional definitions of autobiography, and that a feature of women’s Auto & Ind pages rev again 36 1/2/05 4:27 PM Page 36 Autobiography and Independence autobiography is collective identity and interdependent identification. Of particular interest for this study is the analogy that Friedman makes between Gusdorf’s description of a culture in which autobiography is impossible and what she calls the ‘marginalised cultures of women’, a type of culture without the elements Gusdorf considers to be the necessary preconditions for autobiography, a culture in which the individual does not oppose himself to all others; [in which] he does not feel himself to exist outside of others, and still less against others, but very much with others in an interdependent existence that asserts its rhythms everywhere in the community […in which] lives are so thoroughly entangled that each of them has its center everywhere and its circumference nowhere.

These texts are not strictly autobiographies, as has previously been stressed, but they are more than third-person narratives: they are intimately concerned with questions of identity in ways that seem to be more intense and to exceed the concerns of the vague notion of ‘autobiographical novel’. The idea of a ‘creative intervention’ that was used at the beginning of this chapter brings us to a rather different aspect of the definition of autobiography. 59 In attempts to define the genre there are, however, two constants.

94 Charles Forsdick and David Murphy, in Francophone Postcolonial Studies, emphasise the positive contribution of Postcolonial Studies in a further useful discussion of its development. They remark both on the ways in which Postcolonial Studies have led English literature departments to revise the literary canon (a point also made by James Olney, as cited earlier) and on the willingness within the field to ‘refine the object of its research in the light of criticisms of earlier definitions’, taking as an example the use or non-use of the hyphenated form.

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