Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

Preface

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pp. xi-xx

Note on Translations

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pp. xxi-xxiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-23

The modern Algerian novel, blending styles, languages, and ways of looking at and being in the world, demonstrates that Algerian writing of French expression has indeed always been cosmopolitan and global, exuding the Maghreb pluriel (multiple) ethic that Moroccan philosopher Abdelkébir Khatibi maintains privileges “une pensée autre” (an-Other way of thinking), which he first articulated in the 1980s. The philosopher’s concept explores the inherent hybridity of the Maghrebi subject, particularly the author writing in French, as a celebration of his/her bilingualism, which, according to Khatibi, always displays “two languages in a heterogeneous position...

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1 Midnight Novelists

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pp. 24-45

In the 1973 edition of his Le Nouveau roman, Jean Ricardou lists leading novelists of the New Novel genre from the early 1950s to 1971. The latter date marked the first colloquium dedicated to the New Novel, “Nouveau roman: Hier, aujourd’hui” (The New Novel: Yesterday, today), held in Cerisy-la-Salle, France. The colloquium contextualized the waning concept of the New Novel as its leading authors were changing their styles and thematic focus. Ricardou’s list more or less reflects the earlier 1958 grouping of authors by the French revue Esprit, as well as a special 1959 edition of Yale French Studies entitled...

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2 French Intellectuals, Violence, and the Algerian War

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pp. 46-83

From 1830 forward, French philosophers, intellectuals, and politicians debated, questioned, and condemned France’s colonial mission immediately following General Bugeaud’s conquest of Algeria.1 As early as 1833, Xavier de Sade, the liberal deputy of l’Aine, warned against French expansion into Algeria on the grounds that economically and militarily it would weaken France. His outspoken views were echoed by others such as Hippolyte Passy and Théobald Piscatory, both parliamentarians who were adamantly against colonial expansion. Piscatory noted in 1841 that...

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3 Assia Djebar’s La Soif and Nathalie Sarraute’s Portrait d’un inconnu: Defining the Authentic Self in the Exploration of a Possible World

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pp. 84-115

As the previous chapter explained, by the mid-1950s New Novelists began contributing to conversations that became increasingly sociopolitical and intertwined with the Algerian Revolution raging on the other side of the Mediterranean. How to explain and explore the evolving new era as it hurtled toward decolonization, overturning the long- standing colonizer-colonized dynamic, fostered questions about identity in the burgeoning freed nation that would become postcolonial Algeria in the early 1960s. Through their novels of the 1950s, Algerian authors sought to articulate...

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4 Claude Ollier’s Le Maintien de l’ordre and Kateb Yacine’s Le Polygone étoilé: Writing the Modern Stories That Cannot Be Told on the Blank Pages of Algeria

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pp. 116-160

Through labyrinths of eternal returns, flashbacks and flash- forwards, anonymous characters, and places with no designations, Claude Ollier and Kateb Yacine stand on either side of a narrative abyss that is fragile and dark, offering few answers to the unsettling questions that were associated with Algeria during the revolutionary period. Claude Ollier’s novel Le Maintien de l’ordre (Law and Order), published in 1961, and Kateb Yacine’s final novel in what he vaguely described as the concluding work to the Nedjma trilogy, Le Polygone étoilé (The starred polygon, 1966), are the bookends...

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5 Mohammed Dib’s Habel and the Experimental Algerian Novel: Third World Movements and the Ideological and Literary “New Man”

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pp. 161-189

By the mid-1960s when Kateb published Le Polygone étoilé, Algerian authors of French expression had already become disillusioned with the reality in which they were living. While this chapter further considers authors’ disillusionment and alienation in the postcolonial climate, it also studies to what degree the sociopolitical turbulence of the late 1960s continued to shape their works well into the 1970s. Third World movements across Africa and Latin America propelled forward by Algeria’s independence, the nascent U.S.-Vietnam war, the U.S. civil rights movement, and the social...

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6 Rachid Boudjedra’s Topographie idéale pour une agression caractérisée: Labyrinths of Algerian Modernity

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pp. 190-222

In a 1994 interview, Rachid Boudjedra overtly proclaimed his allegiance to the New Novel: “J’ai été très influencé par le roman français, surtout le nouveau roman et le grand écrivain Claude Simon” (I’ve been very influenced by the French novel, most certainly the nouveau roman and the great writer Claude Simon).1 However, Boudjedra, like most of the Maghrebi authors of his generation, was interested in actively contributing not so much to the oeuvre of writers included in the genre, but rather to “the renewal of the novel...through the appropriation of modern techniques of composition.” These techniques...

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7 Nabile Farès’s Yahia, pas de chance, and Other Experimental Novels: Out of the Ruins Emerges a New Man and a New World

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pp. 223-252

Much of what has been written about Algerian Nabile Farès’s work focuses on exile, his use of multiple languages (Berber, Arabic, and French), linguistic registers, and the historical events depicted in his first three novels covering the period 1954–62 of the Algerian Revolution. His fictional works from 1971 to his death in 2016 express the desire to keep his native Kabylian culture present and alive, to use the Berber language, which he spoke before he knew French, and to break apart the codified structures of all languages. In his novels Farès, like Boudjedra and Kateb, reflects on his disappointment...

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8 Yamina Mechakra’s La Grotte éclatée: Reclaiming Algeria through the Poetics of Postcolonial Space

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pp. 253-284

This study of the influence of the French New Novel on Algerian writers concludes with the 1979 publication of Yasmina Mechakra’s novel, La Grotte éclatée (The shattered cave). Like Nabile Farès, Mechakra, writing in the postcolonial era, attempts to make sense of a country that, at the time of the publication of her novel, was not living up to the promises made to particularly women during the revolution. From the ruins of war and these failed promises, at the age of nineteen when she began writing the novel while attending high school in Algiers, Mechakra constructs a text that resurrects...

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Afterword: Contemporary Modes of Being an Algerian Author

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pp. 285-302

The authors of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, writing in the avant-garde of the French New Novel, set Algerian writers on a path that has inspired them to continue to explore inventive writing styles and themes up to the present day. From the past to the present, these authors have viewed the role of literature, specifically the novel, much in the same way the French- Czech writer and literary theorist Milan Kundera conceptualizes literature’s function in society in his work L’Art du roman ( The Art of the Novel, 1986): “The novel does not examine reality, but existence. And existence is not what has happened...

Notes

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pp. 303-312

Bibliography

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pp. 313-326

Index

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pp. 327-336