Autobiography and Independence: Self and Identity in North by Debra Kelly

By Debra Kelly

In Autobiography and Independence, Debra Kelly examines 4 finished Francophone North African writers—Mouland Feroan, Assia Djebar, Albert Memmi, and Abdelk?bir Khatibi—to light up the complicated courting of a writer's paintings to cultural and nationwide histories. The legacies of colonialism and the problems of nationalism run all through all 4 writers' works, but of their impressive individuality, the 4 reveal the ways that such heritages are refracted via a writer's own heritage. This publication might be of curiosity to scholars of Francophone literature, colonialism, and African heritage and tradition. (10/10/2006)

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It was he who obliged societies to shift, to question the unanimity of traditional behaviours, to leave the ranks and the norms of yesterday in a double movement of resistance against the coloniser and attraction to his knowledge and mastery of History, times and techniques. ) Déjeux goes on to quote Hichem Djaït once again, writing that Islam has been unaware of humanism as a basis for civilising values,44 but here he Auto & Ind pages rev again 26 1/2/05 4:27 PM Page 26 Autobiography and Independence is quoted explaining more clearly the Islamic attitude: ‘Précisons: l’humanisme en tant que valorisant la personne humaine en tant que telle, car il existe un humanisme musulman de l’homme en tant que croyant, pris dans le religieux’ (‘To be more precise, humanism in so far as it gives a value to the human person as such, because there does exist a Muslim humanism of man as believer, from the religious aspect’).

Il n’y a pas pour l’islam de primat de l’individu en ce sens qu’il serait dégagé de tout lien d’humanité; son premier lien d’humanité est le lien avec la famille. 57 (One can only underline strongly that the kernel of Islamic humanism is not the individual alone. Human beings are social beings, and their first sociability is the family. When it is said in the West that the autonomy of reason and the primacy of the individual are the two foundations of modernity, that poses a problem in Islam. For Islam there is no primacy of the individual in the sense of something detached from every link with mankind; and the indi- Auto & Ind pages rev again 1/2/05 4:27 PM Page 31 Life/Writing in the Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts 31 vidual’s first link with mankind is the link with the family.

As one critic puts it, the general approach to autobiography involves assumptions concerning the relationship between literature and autobiography. Assumptions too about what constitutes style in literature and life […] assumptions about the author’s own values, moral code, ethics, and assumptions about culture, society, religion. Assumptions about life itself, about feelings – one’s own and others. 61 The need to understand and move beyond these assumptions is particularly important for developing reading strategies to deal with North African texts in the colonial and postcolonial contexts, and in the following section I shall attempt to define the need for what may be called ‘motivated’ reading strategies.

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