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Introduction THE PRESENT ISSUE OF L'ESPRIT CREATEUR attempts to explore some of the conflicts between history and memory that lie at the core of postcolonial and transnational experience on four continents, and across several overlapping cultural boundaries. It deals with modalities of narrative evocation and ellipsis, and concerns itself with the deep, incessant reshaping of personal or collective memory. Reflecting upon phenomena of memorial repression and transformation, the articles that comprise this collection evoke political events and historical confrontations repressed or reborn, individual and collective dramas incessantly reappropriated and displaced . They cover thus a wide range of issues: modalities of remembrance of the Algerian war of independence; the ever changing conceptualization of national culture and interpretation of history; the role of the dissident intellectual within the project of construction of a multicultural post-independence identity; the overarching architecture of simultaneously historical and autobiographical fiction; the repression of desire; the hybrid representation of "national" culture; the displacement of external experience to psychological interiority in Caribbean fiction; as well as the fictional reconstruction of colonial space as childhood and adolescent experiences find their way into fiction. Nearly forty years after independence in Algeria, and drawing heavily from recent political literature of the French far right, Benjamin Stora examines the contemporary fabric of French society as reflected in the ideological processing of Algerian colonization. Concerned with "the displacement of values, habits, and beliefs that were elaborated over the 132 years" of French colonization, Stora's article meticulously unveils the National Front's invention of a history rooted in racial intolerance and anti-Islamic myth. In his metaphorical reference to the antebellum South, Stora identifies Jean-Marie Le Pen's version of colonial history and vision of contemporary racial diversity as the uglier facet of the fundamental contradiction inherent in the ostensibly egalitarian ideology of republican discourse. Indeed, the selectively assimilationist ideology of modern French republicanism, what Stora names a "false model of republic," barely masked "a differential and segregationist strategy." Stora goes on to examine the crisis of French Jacobinism that arises out of conflicted understandings of Algeria, particularly once colonial communities and their political cleavages have settled in various sectors of French society. Of particular interest, thus, is Storas's accurate and nuanced analysis of the historical imaginaires of various French Algerian communities, such as the exilic memories of the pied-noirs and the mémoires citoyennes of the beurs. No less important, finally, are Stora's discussion of the "mémoire de Vol. XLIII, No. 1 3 L'Esprit Créateur revanche inavouée" that has made the successes of far right activism possible, as well as his well-taken admonition for an end to the political discourse of euphemisms and equivocation that has long presided, in the midst of the French republic, over the evocation of the Algerian war of independence. The second article in the collection considers several occurrences of contesting and regenerative memorialization of Algerian history: in the recently published journalistic writings of Kateb Yacine, in Elisabeth Schemla's 19992000 travel journals, and in the detective fiction of a talented newcomer to Algerian fiction, Boualem Sansal. In this article I consider various trajectories of the process of memorial densification of Algerian images. Stressing the transgeographical purview of Kateb 's journalistic preoccupations and their préfiguration of the themes of his post-independence theater, I draw attention to the lay discourse of "désassimilation" they relentlessly construct. The occasionally problematic observations Elisabeth Schemla indulges as she searches for physical memories of her father bear witness to the postcolonial challenge of reconciling subjective and historical remembering. An evocation of existential hallucination and of a moral chaos of epic proportions, finally, Boualem Sansal's novel Le Serment des barbares offers perhaps the most metaphysically absolute translation of sociopolitical anomie, a feat accomplished through the creative manipulation of the genre of the detective novel. Jean Sénac, whose poetic and political itineraries and whose historical significance Danielle Marx-Scouras thoroughly maps out in the following article, remains perhaps the most controversial Algerian figure and therefore the writer the least officially acknowledged by independent Algeria, whose citizenship he had freely chosen. It is on Jean Sénac's contested and ignored "alg...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 3-6
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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