Fifty years after the publication of Kateb Yacine's final novel in his Nedjma cycle, Le Polygone étoilé (1966), his iconic character, Nedjma, still resonates with feminist interventions in the project of Algerian decolonization. In this article, I argue against the traditional reading of Nedjma as a symbol of colonial Algeria, looking at her development over the entire course of Kateb's Nedjma cycle from 1948's "Nedjma ou le poème ou le couteau" to his plays (Le Cadavre encerclé [1954] and Les Ancêtres redoublent de férocité [1959]) to his novels (Nedjma [1956] and Le Polygone étoilé [1966]). Over the course of her many iterations (and rebirths), she develops greater agency, political consciousness, and becomes increasingly unreadable to the male characters around her. Ultimately, she elides symbolization and embodies a kind of Derridean democratic political potential, radically breaking from the projects of the men around her and embracing a kind of revolutionary everydayness.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 174-197
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.