Scattered Letters

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

in Philological Encounters
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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.

Scattered Letters

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

in Philological Encounters

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References

BensmaïaRéda Experimental Nations: Or the Invention of the Maghreb 2003 Princeton Princeton University Press

BensmaïaRéda “Nations of Writers” Studies in Twentieth Century Literature 1999 23 163 178

DjebarAssia BlairDorothy S. Fantasia: An Algerian Calvacade 1993 Portsmith Heineman

DjebarAssia L’Amour la fantasia 1995 Paris Editions Albin Michel

DonadeyAnne “The Multilingual Strategies of Postcolonial Literature: Assia Djebar’s Algerian Palimpsest” World Literature Today 2000 74 27 36

EricksonJohn “Assia Djebar’s L’Amour, la fantasia Islam and Postcolonial Narrative 1998 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

GauvinLise Langagement: L’écrivain et la langue au Québec 2000 Montréal Boréal

HarrisonNicholas Postcolonial Criticism: History Theory and the Work of Fiction 2003 Cambridge Polity Press

KhatibiAbdelkebir BennaniJalil “Incipits” Du bilinguisme 1985 Paris Denoël

MortimerMildred “Edward Said and Assia Djebar: A Contrapuntal Reading” Research in African Literature 2005 36 53 67

MortimerMildred “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 2013 25 111 129

TageldinShaden “Which Qalam for Algeria? Colonialism, Liberation, and Language in Djebar’s L’Amour, La fantasia and Mustaghānami’s Dhākirat al-Jasad Comparative Literature Studies 2009 46 467 497

WehrsDonald “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 2003 118 841 866

1

Assia DjebarL’Amour la fantasia (Paris: Editions Albin Michel1995) 203.

4

Djebar and Blair transl.Fantasia180.

5

Abdelkebir Khatibi“Incipits,” in Du bilinguismeBennani et al. eds. (Paris: Denoël1985) 179. My translation.

7

Nicholas HarrisonPostcolonial Criticism: History Theory and the Work of Fiction (Cambridge: Polity Press2003) 120-1.

9

Anne Donadey“The Multilingual Strategies of Postcolonial Literature: Assia Djebar’s Algerian Palimpsest,” World Literature Today (2000): 27.

11

Ibid.27.

12

Ibid.27.

14

Ibid.29.

16

Ibid.30.

17

Ibid.34.

18

Ibid.30.

19

Ibid.30.

20

Ibid.34.

21

Ibid.34.

22

Ibid.34.

23

Ibid.29.

29

DjebarL’Amour12. My translation.

30

Ibid.74.

31

Djebar and Blair (trans.)Fantasia61.

38

Ibid.16. The historical situation of writing and rewriting can be seen again when the narrator describes the descriptions of the caves: “Vingt ans après ces événements certains prendront connaissance de ce document puis ils écrivent à leur tour” (91).

41

Mildred Mortimer“Edward Said and Assia Djebar: A Contrapuntal Reading,” Research in African Literature 36 (2005): 60.

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