By Lia Nicole Brozgal
The paintings of Tunisian Jewish highbrow Albert Memmi, like that of many francophone Maghrebian writers, is frequently learn as thinly veiled autobiography. wondering the present physique of feedback, which maintains this interpretation of such a lot fiction produced via francophone North African writers, Lia Nicole Brozgal exhibits how such interpretations of Memmi’s texts imprecise their now not inconsiderable theoretical possibilities.
Calling cognizance to the ambiguous prestige of autobiographical discursive and textual components in Memmi’s paintings, Brozgal shifts the focal point from the writer to theoretical questions. opposed to Autobiography areas Memmi’s writing and suggestion in discussion with numerous significant serious shifts within the overdue twentieth-century literary and cultural panorama. those shifts comprise the main issue of the authorial topic; the interrogation of the shape of the radical; the resistance to the hegemony of imaginative and prescient; and the critique of colonialism. displaying how Memmi’s novels and essays produce theories that resonate either inside of and past their unique contexts, Brozgal argues for permitting works of francophone Maghrebi literature to be learn as advanced literary gadgets, that's, no longer easily as ethnographic curios yet as producing components of literary conception on their lonesome phrases.
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Extra info for Against Autobiography: Albert Memmi and the Production of Theory
65 Déjeux categorizes francophone Maghrebi literary production into three groups. ” The second and third categories are represented, respectively, by “fairly conventional, traditional writers, both in content and in style. ”66 It is significant that Déjeux’s categories depend on his perception of the writers’ intentions to produce a document of a certain reality. 68 Because any discussion of reception is necessarily fraught with the potential for contextual misunderstandings, and because the relative importance of a single critic is difficult to measure with objectivity and accuracy, I prefer to tread lightly when discussing Déjeux’s impact on the domain of francophone letters and, in particular, francophone Maghrebi literature.
In the particular case of Memmi, any authorial status attributed to him would be at once ambiguous and ambivalent: he takes part in both “our society”—insofar as European colonization brought him the language of Molière and an 22 Of Authors and Archives imported literary canon to go with it—and in his culture of origin. At the same time, while belonging to both, he can never fully be either. Certainly this suggests an impasse that is reminiscent both of Memmi’s position in The Colonizer and the Colonized and the organizing logic of his anthologies of the 1960s, as well as of his skepticism regarding the ability of the writer of hybrid identity to overcome his divided self.
This requires a notion of literary representation that does not conceive of the problem of representation as the presentation of different images of the colonial, some more progressive than others. It requires an end to the collusion of historicism and realism by unseating the Transcendental subject, the origin of writing as linear time consciousness. . 70 According to Bhabha, it is only by moving beyond these types of readings and the (unreasonable) demand for a transcendental “colonial” subject that a notion of representation not based on difference can be achieved.