In this article I propose to examine a vast range of works that deal with clandestine immigration. They include (but are not limited to) Les Clandestins (Youssouf Amine Elalamy), Cannibales (Mahi Binebine), Clandestins en Méditerranée (Fawzi Mellah), Partir (Tahal Ben Jelloun), Celles qui attendent (Fatou Diome), and Le Paradis du Nord (Essomba). The purpose of my essay is to outline the way clandestine literature describes the dream that immigrants have of Europe in general, and of France in particular, as an El Dorado they look to conquer. The El Dorado is, as we know, a myth, but in the context of this literature, it is also a cultural myth—as Barthes defines it in Mythologies—whose ultimate function is to “transform history into nature.” Consequently, the aim of this study is, first, to explore how the “culture industry” shapes the myth of the “European El Dorado” in the migrants’ minds. Secondly, I analyze the mechanisms used to construct this myth as it is suggested in the various novels and, ultimately, I discuss the ideological foundations on which this myth is based, or the “vol de language” through which it is articulated.


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