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A first-ever English translation of a compelling work by a forerunner of modern Sephardi feminist literature.
 
Raised in the Judería or Jewish quarter of Tetouan, Morocco, at the turn of the 20th-century, sixteen-year-old Mazaltob finds herself betrothed to José, an uncouth man from her own community who has returned from Argentina to take a wife. Mazaltob, however, is in love with Jean, who is French, half-Jewish, and a free spirit. In this classic of North African Jewish fiction, Blanche Bendahan evokes the two compelling forces tearing Mazaltob apart in her body and soul: her loyalty to the Judería and her powerful desire to follow her own voice and find true love. Bendahan’s nuanced and moving novel is a masterly exploration of the language, religion, and quotidian customs constraining North African Jewish women on the cusp of emancipation and decolonization. Yaëlle Azagury and Frances Malino provide the first English translation of this modern coming-of-age tale, awarded a prize by the Académie Française in 1930, and analyze the ways in which Mazaltob, with its disconcerting blend of ethnographic details and modernist experimentation, is the first of its genre—that of the feminist Sephardi novel. A historical introduction, a literary analysis, and annotations elucidate historical and cultural terms for readers, supplementing the author’s original notes.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Half Title Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface
  2. Yaëlle Azagury, Frances Malino
  3. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Introduction
  2. Frances Malino
  3. pp. xiii-xxvi
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  1. Note on Translation
  2. pp. xvii-xviii
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  1. Mazaltob: A Novel
  2. Blanche Bendahan
  3. pp. 1-2
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  1. Chapter 1
  2. pp. 3-9
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  1. Chapter 2
  2. pp. 10-14
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  1. Chapter 3
  2. pp. 15-25
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  1. Chapter 4
  2. pp. 26-35
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  1. Chapter 5
  2. pp. 36-43
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  1. Chapter 6
  2. pp. 44-53
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  1. Chapter 7
  2. pp. 54-62
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  1. Chapter 8
  2. pp. 63-72
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  1. Chapter 9
  2. pp. 73-81
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  1. Chapter 10
  2. pp. 82-97
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  1. Chapter 11
  2. pp. 98-104
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  1. Chapter 12
  2. pp. 105-111
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  1. Chapter 13
  2. pp. 112-119
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  1. Chapter 14
  2. pp. 120-123
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  1. Chapter 15
  2. pp. 124-130
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  1. Mazaltob and the Rise of the Modern Sephardi Novel
  2. Yaëlle Azagury
  3. pp. 131-146
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 147-148
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 149-156
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  1. Further Reading
  2. pp. 157-159
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