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The chorus of Jewish women echoes the king's lament in strains reminiscent of Jeremiah. The 17 th century manifests a dual character: classical and Christian. Naturally enough, biblical or post-biblical influences are felt primarily among writers of Christian inspiration; others return to the sources of classical antiquity. Racine's two biblical tragedies, Esther and Athalie , rank among the great masterpieces of French drama.

Bossuet, in his Discours sur l'Histoire Universelle , presents a spiritual perspective of history in which the paths are traced by a mysterious but wise Providence.


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Here Israel is chosen for a particular mission to the world, and other nations of antiquity, however powerful and important they might appear in relation to the Jews, are but tools used by God to chastise or protect His chosen people. Israel is thus seen as the cornerstone of world history.

Pascal too, in his passionate search for God, saw in the Jews an exceptional and mysterious people, appointed by Providence to preside over human destiny. The Bible was to be read, studied, and interpreted symbolically, and Pascal drew heavily on the Midrash, which he considered a key to the understanding of the Scriptures.

Personally unfriendly toward the Jews, Voltaire, in his Dictionnaire Philosophique , simultaneously attacked their alleged religious fanaticism and argued that Christians ought logically to practice Judaism, "because Jesus was born a Jew, lived a Jew, died a Jew, and said expressly that he was fulfilling the Jewish religion. The 19 th -century Romantic movement brought with it a revival of interest in, and sympathy for, religion and Christian values.

French poets displayed a noticeable reverence for the Bible and found inspiration in the Holy Land. After a grand tour which included Palestine, his Souvenirs , Impressions… Pendant un Voyage en Orient looked prophetically to the future: "Such a land, resettled by a new Jewish nation, tilled and watered by intelligent hands… would still be the Promised Land of our day, if only Providence were to give it back its people, and the tide of world events bring it peace and liberty. Vigny, who knew the Bible by heart, based one-fifth of his poems on biblical themes and filled them with Hebrew images and expressions.

Like all Vigny's heroes, the biblical figures are universal symbols — men of genius whose greatness condemns them to eternal solitude.

Feu! Chatterton : «Nos chansons sont un exutoire pour notre mélancolie»

Hugo was the preeminent biblical poet among the French Romantics. In more recent French literature, from the late 19 th century onward, biblical and Christian inspiration again go hand in hand. Babel , , like theirs, is prophetic, sometimes apocalyptic. Grosjean borrows almost all his themes from the Bible and the Kabbalah. The titles of his verse collections are eloquent: Le livre du juste , Fils de l'homme , and Apocalypse The appearance of Jewish characters in French literature is determined by the socio-historical role of the Jews in France, where they lived from Roman times until the expulsion of In medieval French literature, Jews generally appear in an unfavorable light.

This attitude changes when they convert. Confronted with the noble figure of the emperor, he readily accepts Jesus. In the 13 th -century Desputaison de la Synagogue et de la Saincte Eglise , a play by Clopin which may reflect the Paris disputation of , the representative of the Synagogue i. The Jew's first appearance as a figure in French society in the 13 th century is reflected in the literature of the period. The satirical poet Gautier de Coincy is particularly virulent against Jews, portraying them as not merely stubborn and blind, but also as rich oppressors of the poor.

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In later mystery plays, the Pharisees represent the "hypocritical Jews," the "Christ-killers," filled with hatred and inspired by Satan. The performance of these plays in Paris was finally banned in Throughout the 16 th and 17 th centuries the Jew is, by and large, absent from the French scene, and is virtually ignored by writers of that period.


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  • Even the liberal Michel de Montaigne see below , a writer of partly Jewish descent who had personal contact with Jews in Italy, makes only a few random allusionsto them in his Essays. Racine, however, defended the Jews in his drama Esther , where the heroine pleads their cause. The Jews, declares Racine, are peace loving, humble, and loyal to God and the king. Pascal also expresses his admiration for a Jewish people miraculously preserved through the ages and unique among nations for its unswerving loyalty to God, for its sincerity, and for its courageous devotion to the Law of Moses.

    Bossuet, too, marvels at Israel's miraculous survival. During his 17 years in Metz, whose Jewish community enjoyed royal protection, he met Jews and attempted to convert some of their youth. The few writers of the 18 th century who were not blinded by anti-religious hatred expressed enlightened opinions about Jews and Judaism. Thus Montesquieu, who devotes no.

    Among the many "Oriental" works inspired by the Lettres Persanes were the Lettres Juives of the Marquis d'Argens, which present an exceptionally favorable image of Jewish values and morality. Voltaire and the Encyclopedists, on the other hand, presented a generally unsympathetic image of the Jews, whom they held to be as guilty of religious fanaticism as the Christians. In the fourth book of his Emile , Rousseau, though scarcely better informed than his contemporaries, makes a remarkable plea for a more objective and sympathetic understanding of the Jews.

    Then, and only then, shall we know what they really have to say. Throughout the 19 th century the Jew's growing importance in French society found its reflection in literature, but the image of the Jew in plays and novels generally lacks nuance. Only Balzac's "beau Juif," Naphtaly, is a figure of chivalrous virtue. In Manette Salomon , a novel by the Gon-court brothers Edmond and Jules, the Jewish heroine is unsympathetically treated.

    She is the corrupting influence who forces the artist Caridis to abandon his ideals. Les Rois en exil , by Alphonse Daudet, is a variation on the same theme. In his dramas, Victor Hugo at first sacrificed truth to popular prejudice. Yet Hugo's last great play, Torquemada , reveals the author's real sympathy for the Jewish victims of treachery and oppression — a sympathy he demonstrated publicly by presiding at a Paris rally on May 31, , to protest against czarist persecution of Russian Jewry.

    Unpleasant Jewish types continued to make their appearance in the novels Cosmopolis ; Eng. Zola, however, by placing the Jewish Gundermann opposite a far more despicable Christian character, does succeed in restoring some sense of balance. In all these novels the Jew or Jewess is a rapacious intriguer, endangering the security of the nation and corrupting morals. Bourget's L'Etape portraying an idealistic Jew, is a happy exception. Though often cast in the role of a prostitute, the Jewess in the short stories of Maupassant is treated sympathetically and proves herself more noble than her non-Jewish associates.


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    Thus in Mademoiselle Fifi , the Jewess Rachel alone resists the offensive Prussian officer, emerging as a symbol of French patriotism and courage. And in La femme de Claude , a drama by Alexandre Dumas fils , it is the Jewess Rebecca who symbolizes feminine virtue and purity in a decadent and selfish society.

    The brothers J. Rosny present a fierce and proud Jewess in La Juive The Dreyfus case inspired not only a spate of nationalistic and anti semitic novels, but also some important works of an exactly opposite type by three great French writers. Society, eager to persecute the defenseless Jew Pyrot, is depicted in all its cowardice and greed.

    Anatole France also presents a likeable Jewish philologist, Schmoll, in Le lys rouge The central figure, a liberal journalist in search of truth and justice, speaks out on behalf of Dreyfus, under the influence of an admirable Jewish friend, Woldsmuth. The Affaire also directed the attention of two great Catholic writers toward Jewry. Two other writers of the period introduced Jewish figures. World War I marked a turning point in the treatment of Jewish characters in French literature, and they became increasingly numerous, varied, and interesting.

    Writers were preoccupied with the search for new social and moral values for a society shattered by war, and tended to give greater recognition to the Jew's specific identity. The Jew was no longer merely a persecuted human being to be defended for the sake of justice, but the bearer of a cultural and spiritual tradition worthy of a place in the broader French or European heritage.

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    But it was Romain Rolland who, even before World War I, had given Jewish values a broad and universal meaning for modern civilization. Not only had the Jew his own traditions to contribute to the French heritage, he also had a special vocation in the western world, being the bearer of "Justice for all, of universal Right. This deals with the friendship between two schoolboys, one a Christian and the other a Jew.

    The persecution of the brilliant and idealistic Silbermann by his anti semitic schoolmates forms the background to the story. The author, educated in a reactionary, anti semitic milieu, describes how he is attracted by a sensitive and intelligent young Jew whom he meets in the trenches. Georges Duhamel, in his serial novel La chronique des Pasquier —41 , presents a finely drawn Jew in Justin Weill, the loyal and idealistic friend of the storyteller-hero. Although the liberal Duhamel makes his Jewish hero an admirable figure, he is nevertheless presented as the perpetual stranger, alienated from both the French and the Jewish traditions.

    Throughout the Chronicles it is this fundamental alienation that accounts for the unsuccessful search for a Franco-Jewish synthesis. The same theme is given a slightly different interpretation by Paul Nizan in La conspiration Here the hero, Bernard Rosenthal, failing to involve the girl he loves in his own philosophical preoccupations, commits suicide. In all these works the Jewish hero has a central role, yet he is always analyzed in terms of the non-Jew's reactions.

    To clarify the non-Jew's attitude toward the Jew, some French novelists have created minor, but striking, Jewish characters. Roger Martin Du Gard devotes La belle saison , the third volume of his family cycle Les Thibault , to the story of Antoine Thibault, a young doctor, and Rachel, his Jewish mistress, who becomes intensely real although she is only seen through the eyes of her lover.

    The leading French writers of the postwar period did not introduce Jewish figures into their works, perhaps because of the irreparable mental shock caused by the war. Essays and theoretical writings on the Jewish question by Sartre for example were not rare, but Jewish characters and heroes became the exclusive concern of French Jewish writers. Although Jews made no specific contribution to French literature before the 13 th century, their links with French culture are more ancient.

    Even Hebrew-Old French dictionaries have survived. Fleg, Anthologie juive , Its author was probably Jacob ben Judah de Lotra, who is known to have written a Hebrew kinah elegy on the same theme. With the expulsion of the Jews from France in this literary activity came to an end, although Alsace, and occasionally Provence, remained havens for Jewish refugees. After a gap of nearly years, writers of Jewish origin again made their appearance on the French literary scene.

    A skeptical humanist, more deistic than Christian, Montaigne in his Essays reveals a tolerant abhorrence of the Inquisition in Portugal, but only an outsider's interest in Jewish survival. But in French literature proper, Jews played no major literary role until the era of Louis Philippe — Few of the many Jewish writers who rose to eminence in 19 th -century France showed any real interest in Jewish themes. By the beginning of the 20 th century the number of Jewish playwrights had grown considerably. Almost all these authors, with the exception of Henry Bernstein, were Frenchmen who also happened to be Jews; but the Dreyfus case had a profound influence in reshaping the ideas of French Jewish writers.

    Their general approach was, however, very different. Bloch, a Communist, assigned to the Jew the role of "revolutionary ferment" in his adopted society; while Cohen, a Corfu-born poet and mystic, was strongly influenced by his Mediterranean background. So does Pierre Abraham — , the brother of Jean-Richard Bloch, who directed the leftist monthly, Europe , and only recalled his Jewish identity in response to the Dreyfus case and, some 30 years later, to Hitler.

    On the other hand, the themes of certain 20 th -century writers, the problems they analyzed, the characters they depicted, the settings they chose were exclusively Jewish. A phenomenon worth consideration is the large number of Romanian-born Jews who either began or resumed their literary career in France. His Le Livre des Questions has become the first of a series of works which consist of persistent questioning, sometimes in the form of narratives or dialogues, sometimes in the form of apocryphal talmudic discussions between imaginary rabbis or kabbalistic letter games.

    The term is of course taken in a spiritual sense and has no political meaning. In this new poetic work it is language itself which is being questioned. The book is also a self-portrait. The Word is always imperfect since it cannot totally express our own inner self, even less our relationship to God.

    On the metaphysical level, the question remains unanswered. But the human quality of the Stranger and his function in our midst is more clearly defined. And I? I am, for you, the Stranger. And you? The star always separated from the star. What brings them closer is only their will to shine together. Le livre du part-age The Book of Shares, appeared in English translation as the inaugural volume of a new series on religion and post-modernism at the University of Chicago Press. Whether this latest work indeed marks a new departure remains to be seen.

    Pas nouveau

    They have the excuse of despair. Wiesel, in Entre deux soleils , unifies his vision of man through narrations, dialogues and legends, and emphasizes his role as witness. The book is couched in the form of a testament, written in a Soviet jail, by a Jewish poet accused of high treason and counterrevolutionary activities.

    Although the hero Paltiel Kossover is an imaginary figure, his itinerary closely resembles that of many a Jewish dissident. The son of a kind and pious father, he spent his youth in a Romanian shtetl. His messianic fervor took on the garb of revolutionary faith, claiming to bring salvation to mankind and Jews alike. The new Leninist religion, widely followed by young Russian Jews in the thirties, was to bring the hero to clandestine action in Nazi Germany and Palestine, and to fighting in the Spanish Civil War and the Red Army.

    But Paltiel, though a rebel against traditional Judaism, kept an obscure feeling of loyalty to his father, whose voice often calls out to him in the depth of night. Hardly knowing why, Paltiel carried his tefillin with him throughout. Though her role remains somewhat ambiguous, they will together uncover the sinister imposture of the Russian regime, and gradually Paltiel's poetry becomes the song of his people.

    Together they flee with their small son, Grisha, secretly circumcised by his father. The Soviet police submit the hero to its most refined physical and moral tortures, the chief result being to strengthen and elevate the spirit of the victim, who on the threshold of death writes a poignant spiritual autobiography as a legacy to his son.

    Grisha, the still unknowing child, instinctively feels the presence of a potential enemy: wanting to evade the questioning of a neighbor, a supposedly well-meaning doctor and father figure, he bites off his tongue and will remain mute. A strange witness of Paltiel's martyrdom and death is the clerk of the court, a Jew himself caught in the system, who carries the message to the mute son of the poet. Grisha will eventually reach Israel with a group of refuseniks, expecting his mother to follow. But will she ever come? The reader is carried into a dreamlike world of introspection, into the shadowy recesses of the psyche.

    Wiesel's book is an emotional and convincing statement of Jewish self-assertion. Its characters are convincing, while the search for a buried past is the motivation and the core of the book. The concluding message is clear: Israel, the land of the prophets, will be and must be the place where memory is kept intact, the land of truth and life, the land of Jewish hope. Elhanan Rosenbaum, born in a shetl of the Carpathian mountains, survives the Holocaust and discovers Palestine.

    In besieged Jerusalem he falls in love with Talia and a son, Malkiel, is born. In New York, where he settles with Malkiel, Elhanan preserves the memory of the terrible years. But Malkiel, already an American, although close to his father, has no link with Elhanan's past. One thing only is certain: his mother Talia died in bringing him into the world. Elhanan, who has been unable to reveal his treasured nightmare to his son, becomes ill and loses the ability to speak or to remember. Soon the past will be lost forever. Elhanan will have nothing to bequeath to his son who, in turn, will be unable to know the roots of his deepest convictions and to share them with his friend Tamar.

    The shipwreck of memory is averted in a dramatic manner: the father suddenly starts to tell the story of his tumultuous past, thus feeding his son's memory, while his own will finally be relieved of its intolerable burden. As the old man finally sinks into the night, forgetting all, his son, strengthened by the link regained, discovers the land of his ancestors. This marks his second birth and the revelation of his deeper self. He will conquer his truth with the help of his father's truth. Will Malkiel, in turn, be able to triumph over the indifference of a world devoid of memory?

    Will he remember his father's deepest hope? Elhanan's most fervent prayer had been never to forget. Indeed "to forget is to abandon, to betray. Called by Italo Calvino "the last great event in the history of the novel," it takes the reader into a Paris apartment house, examining the interlocking lives and possessions of its tenants as part of a shifting mosaic of signs and symbols.

    Until the end of his life he nurtured a profound memory of his parents, who died during World War II: "I am a writer because they left their indelible mark. Their tracks are writing, writing is the memory of their death and the assertion of my life. Beck is arrested and murdered in a Nazi camp. After the war, Berg regularly writes to him: "It's not because you never answer that History can do without you. Liliane Atlan — , born in Southern France to a Jewish family from Salonica, feltdeeply the trauma of Nazi occupation.

    At the age of 17 she attended a Jewish communal school and after earning a diploma in philosophy, she started writing for the theater. The same themes recur both in her poems and in her plays. The first leitmotif is the difficulty in living, borne out by the awareness of the human condition: man, trapped by evil, contracts the incurable Earth-Sickness Le Mal de terre the phrase serves as subtitle to the first two plays. In Monsieur Fugue the author borrows elements from reality, yet the play is no documentary.

    Their guards are soldiers clad in green. One of them, Monsieur Fugue, decides to accompany the children, and during the journey he tells them stories and they enter the game. They live in imagination the life which they will never know in reality: adolescence, love, marriage, old age and natural death; at which point they are killed.

    But the imaginary has replaced the hideous reality. Dream here is no escape, but rather the only reality; and joy can thus spring forth out of despair. Joy is the recurrent countertheme. In Les Messies , Earth Sickness is no longer viewed from within, but from the outside or from higher up. All realistic elements have disappeared. A group of messiahs, set on an imaginary planet and representing all the ideals and hopes ever invented by mankind, await the moment to jump down and save the earth.

    But overtaken by dizziness caused by the Earth Sickness, they wait too long and fail. The myths of salvation are deceitful. Consolation lies not in the content of myths, as in Monsieur Fugue , but in the ability to invent them: after a dismal failure the messiahs will continue to pray and hope. La petite voiture represents a passage into subjective theater, set in a fantastic, apocalyptic universe.

    The two characters, Louise, an invalid in a wheel-chair pushed by Louli, are a projection of the author's split consciousness. How to live in an evil world is the agonizing question pursued in an obstinate, sometimes frenzied, dialogue-monologue. In the end Louli-Louise, facing an apocalyptic destruction, proclaims with all her meager might: joy will be for our descendants if not for us, an inner sun will shine and that's enough to smile for from tonight on.

    Jean-Claude Grumberg — was born in Paris, the grandson of a Yiddish-speaking immigrant from krakow. Like Atlan, he felt the wound of Nazi oppression… For him too, the resulting anguish had to be exorcised in dramatic creations. But the tone is different: aggressiveness and humor are the dominant colors. Among his significant plays are Amorphed'Ottenburg and En revenant de l'Expo , and above all Dreyfus , unanimously hailed as a masterpiece. Grumberg seeks to reconcile History, and its seeming absurdity, with Man, trapped in his contradictions. History is invoked frequently, yet often treated with contempt.

    Man alone, in his human individual quality, really matters, with all his shortcomings. Dreyfus presents a potentially comical and pathetic situation. In a Vilna suburb in , a group of townspeople rehearses a play about the Dreyfus Affair, written by Maurice, a young Jewish intellectual, who dreams of representing the Truth of History, of drawing a moral from past events and of creating genuine popular theater. But as the simple townspeople themselves see it, there is no historical truth; the only truth is what we see and recreate.

    If Maurice wants a moral, a lecture is preferable. As to popular theater, it has nothing to do with distant, foreign historical events. It must spring from experience and tradition. Michel, the cobbler, feels nothing in common with the French captain; he cannot play the role and remains wooden at rehearsals. Arnold, the barber, who plays the part of Zola, finds his text long and pompous; he would prefer a gay little Yiddish song.

    Motel, the tailor, sees no reason to make a blue uniform for Dreyfus, like in the pictures: he has a big reserve of red cloth. Zina, Arnold's wife, has to cross the stage, shouting Death to the Jews; she would rather be the captain's mother — a good Yiddische mama! In short, the towns-people, authentically alive, refuse the lifeless construction of the dreamy intellectual. The clash creates hilarious scenes.

    At times, emotion and even grandeur take over, as in the scene of the drunken Poles' attack, courageously repelled by the Jew, or the tale of the saintly hasidic rabbi who rose higher than God Himself. Having studied Social Psychology in Paris, Ben Jelloun has also published an essay on the situation of North African immigrant workers in France called La plus haute des solitudes His work is informed by his Moroccan and Arabo-Islamic heritage as well as by Western philospohies such as deconstruction. He is a prolific poet. He was then appointed dean of the University of Rabat. He also Taught at the University of Algiers.

    El-Hababi was one of the founding members of the Moroccan Writers Union and became its first president in He was the editor in chief of two publications: Takamul Al-Maa'rifa and Dirasat Falasfya wa 'adabiyah.

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    In Morocco El-Hababi is best known as leading figure in philosophy and literary theory. His main areas of investigation were Islamic philosophy and the contemporary trends in Western thought, especially 'personnalism' on which he wrote his Ph. El-Hababi's most extensively published in French. Mostafa Nissabory is another writer consider part of the post-colonial "new generation of Moroccan Francophone writers. This was followed by Eaux vives and the artistic journal Souffles.

    Khnata Bennouna is one of the few women writers who have managed to enter the almost exclusively male field of literary creation. Working mainly in short fiction, Khnata is regarded as a very political writer. Some of her readers even argue that her concern with political matters weighs down her writing and gives it a rather heavy didactic tone. Her novel Al-Ghad wa Al-Ghadab Tomorrow and Wrath uses techniques of autobiography writing along with ambiguity and other contemporary tropes to create a dense text that questions the existing social and political constructs.

    Besides being an overtly political writer, Khnata is also known for her resistance to a literary trend that encourages Moroccan writers to follow conventions set by Middle Eastern poets and novelists. In fact she resisted what viewed as an eastern "tutelage. Indeed her books frequently dealt the Palestinian both from a political point of view and a humanitarian one. Bennouna currently works as a principle of a high-school in Casablanca.

    Mohammed Berrada b. Although he wrote some fiction and poetry, the most significant bulk of his work is in literary criticism and translation. Berrada is well read in both the Arab and European literary traditions. His writing is very much influenced by modernist literary theories which emphasize ambiguity and dynamic narrative techniques which challenge the reader and create a new relationship between the reader and the text. He also wrote on critics who brought new and revolutionary insights into the literary criticism tradition of the Arab world.

    His book Mohammed Mandur wa Tanthir Annaqd Al-A'rabi Mohammed Mandur and the Theorization of Arab Criticism explores Mohammed Mandur's critical approach to Arabic literature and the extent to which it has enriched the literary production among younger generations of Arab writers. The works of Frantz Fanon are of tremendous importance to the development of a post-colonial tradition of literary criticism. Rabia' Mubarak Rabia' also belongs to the first generation of Morocco's contemporary writers. His contributions to national litearture include short stories, plays, novels, and even children's books.

    His background in psychology and education helped him has greatly influenced his writings as will become clear from the titles of some of his books. The list of his publications is long but here are some of his most significant works. He also wrote at least a dozen children books and psychological studies on the process of socialization and cognitive aspects of childhood. Mohammed Zefzaf Zefzaf is probably Morocco's most prolific fiction writer.

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    His stories are usually set in an urban context, usually Casablanca, where characters are tossed and have to find their way around the town and the people. He plays on problems of contact between the center as represented by the big towns and its educated residents and the rural margins with its poor and provenicial inhabitants. Zefzaf's novels, adacious works do not consider any topic to be outside literature's reach. Needless to say that this stance has earned quite a few crises with the local security forces.

    Zefzaf currently teaches in a high-school in Casablanca. He came to public attention in with the publication of his first novel Messaouda. A second volume, Chant d'ortie, appeared in In he published a work of non-fiction called L'amour circoncis , a comprehensive which lays open the erotic ideals, conventions and practices in Morocco, and in the process explains the identification of the individual in Moroccan society. Edmond Amran Elmaleh --Born into a Jewish family in Safi Morocco, Edmond Amran Elmaleh is one of the writers of a new generation who has contributed to the continuation of a vibrant, diverse tradition of Francophone literature in Morocco.

    Paul Minnesota. In Morocco, she has worked in television and the media. She also served in the government in the seventies, and again in and Today she writes full time and has published short stories, memoirs and novels. She is best known for 'Am Al Fil , originally published in in Beirut. The novel is an exploration of the status of women in post-colonial Morocco.

    His reputation as opposed suffered from that choice for a long time because other poets and the intellectual readership refused to take his venture seriously. Over the years he manged to publish a impressive amount of poetry written in a language that many judged unsuitable for such literary production.

    Lemsih's latest collection of poetry Shkun Trez Lma??!? Who embroidred the water??!? Lemsih manages to find poetic rhythms and original metapphors in the most common forms of language. Although Lemsih published a large number of poems in Morocco's most prestigious literary journal, he only published two other collections of poetry: Riyyah' Jean Amrouche is one of the pioneers of Algerian literature in French.

    He was born into a Catholic family in the Kabyle mountains. At a certain point the family was forced to emigrate to Tunisia where he was educated and began his career. As a high school teacher in Tunis, Albert Memmi was one of his students. He published his first book of poetry, Cendres in Amrouche was also concerned with the preservation of his Amazigh Berber cultural heritage. Like her brother, she was concerned with preserving the cultural heritage of the Kabylie. In she published a collection of tales, poems and proverbs called le Grain magique.

    She also collected and recorded songs and chants from this culture. She also wrote two novels: l'Amant imaginaire and an autobiographical novel Jacinthe noire Mouloud Mammeri was born on the 28th of December in Kabylia. A patriot who struggled for the independence of Algeria from French Colonization, he also studied in Morocco and in France before becoming director of the Centre de recherche anthropologiques in Algiers. But Mammeri is probably best known as a staunch advocate for cultural pluralism in Algeria and for the struggle for the recognition of the Amazigh culture and language throughout North Africa.

    In his lecture on ancient Amazigh poetry from Kabylie was canceled by the authorities. This act of cultural repression triggered massive demonstrations all over Algeria. Among the people in the front ranks of the demonstrations were Kabylie artists and intellectuals. The date in which the demonstrations started is still celebrated as Tafsut Imazighen "The Amazigh Spring" by Amazigh cultural movements all over North Africa.

    Mammeri was a founder of a review, Awal, dedicated to research into Amazigh culture, language and history. He returned to Algeria in where he taught Arabic literature. In he left for France where he held odd jobs to earn a living. He returned to Tunisia in where he wrote for the radio and press of the FLN. He returned to Algeria in and has written for the theater, radio and television, including the BBC and Radio Tunisia.

    His most famous novel is Nedjma , was published in the midst of Algeria's anti-colonial war against the French. It arguably the most important novels in the Francophone Maghrebi tradition. Yacine has described it as "autobiographie au plurielle" in which three narratives, memories of his childhood and his mother, infatuation with his cousin Nedjma and Algerian history. He died on October 28, Mohammed Dib is by far Algeria's most prolific writer and a major figure of world literature.

    Dib is an innovative writer who often explored experimental techniques. For example, Qui se souvient de la mer is a novel about the war for independence in Algeria, set in a mythical, science fiction like city. In so doing, the novel becomes a compelling allegorical narrative of the specific conflict in Algeria and of the psychology of resistance to oppression. He has also published collections of poetry such as Ombre gardienne; Feu, beau feu and O vive.

    Assia Djebar is certainly the best known woman writer if not the best known overall of the Maghreb, at least in the West.

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    She taught history for many years at the University of Algiers, and much of work is pervaded by persistent historical questioning. But above all Djebar's work is concerned with the situation of women in Algeria and with giving them the voice that elements in society would have them denied.

    She is also a prize winning film-maker. Les Enfants du nouveau monde , the first of her works to receive widespread critical acclaim, is a novel which deals with the Algerian anti-colonial war and, in particular, the role women played in it. Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement takes its title from Delacroix's famous painting and is made up almost entirely of conversations between women.

    L'Amour la fantasia is an extraordinarily complex work which weaves together historical narratives of French colonization and autobiography.