Transcultural Migration in the Novels of Hédi Bouraoui

A New Ulysses


In Transcultural Migration in the Novels of Hédi Bouraoui: A New Ulysses, Elizabeth Sabiston analyses the dominant theme of transcultural migration, or immigration, in Hédi Bouraoui’s fiction. His protagonists reflect his passion for endless travel, and are Ulysses-figures for the postmodern age. Their travels enable them to explore the “Otherness of the Other,” to understand and “migrate” into them.
Bouraoui’s World Literature is rooted in the traversées of his characters across a number of clearly differentiated regions, which nonetheless share a common humanity. The ancient migrations of Ulysses, fuelled by violence and war, are paralleled to the modern displacements of entire cultures and even nations. Bouraoui’s works bridge cultures past and present, but they also require the invention of language to convey a postmodern world in flux.

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Elizabeth Sabiston, Ph.D. Cornell University (1969), is Professor Emerita of English and Director, Canada-Mediterranean Centre, York University, Toronto, Canada. She has published a monograph, The Muse Strikes Back, and articles on Hédi Bouraoui’s work, as well as monographs on 19th-century fiction, The Prison of Womanhood, and Women in Literature, Private Sphere to World Stage from Austen to Eliot.
"Transculturel Migration in the Novels of Hédi Bouraoui est une œuvre dense de 214 pages, constituée de 12 chapitres selon un ordre chronologique. Les quatre premierssont exclusivement consacrés à la trilogie: Cap Nord, Les Aléas d’une Odyssée, et Méditerranée à voile toute. Elizabeth Sabiston y analyse l’essence de la migration telle que l’imagine Hédi Bouraoui à partir de l’Odyssée d’Homère, et qu’il appelle lui-même ‘Emigressence’. Il est relativement aisé de relever les multiples prises de position d’un auteur, dès lors que l’exil, ce va-et-vient sans fin entre identité et altérité, devient matière à littérature, qu’il se nourrit de souvenirs longtemps enfouis, et qu’il se confond tout naturellement avec la vie." - Rafik Darragi,

« Promenade avec Elizabeth Sabiston dans les romans d’Hédi Bouraoui
La valse endiablée des styles
pour la ronde des cultures
Tant d’autres ancrages
l’Italie à bras ouverts
et le Canada
Le narratoème explose
le conteur est magicien
Quand parle la tour
les jumelles se font pierres
que la vie éteint
Ancien monde ou Amériques
nous sommes tous voyageurs »
- Georges Chapouthier, C.R.N.S., poète. Paris, France

1 Introduction

2 Hédi Bouraoui’s Cap Nord: Mythopoeia and the Quest for Language
 1 North and South: the New Hannibal
 2 A Ulyssean Quest
 3 Islands and the Quest for Language
 4 Female Mentors: Saadia and Safia
 5 Albert Lacouture and Tante Souad: Written and Folkloric Traditions
 6 Manhattan Island: English and the New World
 7 Voices from Beyond the Grave: Father and Mother
 8 Sardinia: the Journey Begins
 9 Descent into the Underground
 10 Women and Islands
 11 A Storytelling Festival
 12 Sicily: the Crossroads
 13 Mama Lucia and the Word of the Father
 14 A Return and a New Departure: towards the Mother

3 Penelope Liberated: the Female Quest in Les Aléas d’une Odyssée
 1 Part 1 Corsica: the Mother Discovered
 2 Part 2 Le Dit de Pénélope: Laura at the Helm

4 Adventures of a Young Man: the Initiation of Télémaque in Méditerranée à voile toute
 1 Première Partie Hanniballade à Majorque
 2 Deuxième Partie Le Marcheur de Malte Télémaque Takes the Reins

5 Sept portes pour une brûlance: Mad Love and Poetic Creation
 1 The Mystic Number Seven
 2 The Frame Tale
 3 The Female Narrator: Shifting Ientities
 4 The Language of the Heart
 5 The Battle of the Sexes
 6 Corsica and the Homeric Frame
 7 The Death of Love, the Birth of Art
 8 The Reader’s Seduction

6 Berber Girl in Paris: Illusions Lost and Faisances Found
 1 The Title: Colonizer and Colonized
 2 Structure: Triangularity and Circularity
 3 Paean to the Southwest
 4 Adventures of a Book
 5 Tassadit: Berber Girl as Storyteller
 6 Culture Shocks: French Realism, Berber Arabesques
 7 “Famille, je te hais !”
 8 The Americanization of Ariane: a Parallel Failure
 9 The Cultural Revolution of May ’68 and Its Aftermath

7 La Réfugiée (Lotus au Pays du Lys): a Transgeneric Poetic Voyage
 1 The Epic and the Language of Flowers
 2 Private and Public Spheres: DorBoa’s Family and Laos
 3 DorBoa in France: Paradise or Purgatory?
 4 Refugee versus Immigrant: Issues of Free Choice
 5 DorBoa Cultivates Her Garden … and Language
 6 DorBoa and Politics
 7 DorBoa and the Worship of Idols
 8 Culture Shocks and French Xenophobia
 9 “Lotus in Africa”: Buddhist Meets Muslim
 10 DorBoa’s Dark Side: the Serpent in the Garden
 11 Ritual and the Daily Routine
 12 Innocence in a Fallen World
 13 A “Traversée” of Cultures

8 Puglia with Open Arms: Otherness Embraced

9 Wandering Words: Tracing the Ulyssean Cycle in Le Conteur
 1 Circles and Cycles: Canada and the Mediterranean
 2 Living Words versus Technology
 3 Politics and Language
 4 Fiction and Language
 5 Written and Oral Traditions: a Dialectic
 6 The “Real” versus the Fictive
 7 Frederick II and Samy: a Role Model
 8 Let the Conteurs Speak: Male and Female
 9 Italy Comes to Canada

10 Les Jumelles de l’oncle Sam: Immigration and American Women
 1 Female Towers and Patriarchal Dominance
 2 Peggy Windley: in Memoriam
 3 Freedom and the Defrocked Nun
 4 Saïd: from Naïf to Sage

11 Beyond the New Novel: Faisance, Narratoème, “Slice of Life”
 1 Mutante, la Poésie: a Retrospective
 2 Nomadivivance I: towards the Future
 3 Orbit’Luire Maremma: “Seize the Day”

12 Conclusion
Works Cited/Consulted
 Primary Texts
 Secondary Texts
Of interest to scholars, graduate students, students, general readers in the fields of immigration, Transculturalism, poetic fiction, francophone studies, postcolonialism, postmodernism.
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