Title page for ETD etd-07262006-095933


Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Strike, Joelle
URN etd-07262006-095933
Document Title Autobiographie et autographie dans l'oeuvre d'Albert Memmi (French)
Degree DLitt (French)
Department Modern European Languages
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof D Godwin Committee Chair
Keywords
  • autobiography
  • Memmi Albert criticism and interpretation
  • autobiography in literature
Date 2001-04-01
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Rooted in his painfully fractured identity as an Arab-speaking Jew in the (then) French colonial Tunisia, Albert Memmi' s novels and essays evolve in a single autobiographical space. The author will explore and remodel this space from different angles in an attempt to resolve a double predicament through his writing, leading to a progressive (re )construction of the self, which we have called "autography".

Memmi's double predicament - his shattered identity and his problematic relation to the Other - is revealed in the analysis of his first two novels (or auto fictions ), La Statue de sel and Agar, where an agonising deconstruction of the self first emerges. The autobiographical and chronological plot of these works is subverted in the third novel, Le Scorpion, where the reconstruction of the self through writing is downplayed and the Other is afforded some measure of alterity, while the writing, both symbolic and playful, becomes therapeutic. The fourth novel, Le Désert, pursues the reconstruction, reasserting the North-African roots of the author's triple identity, but hardly at all its Jewishness. In the last novel, Le Pharaon, the second dimension of the predicament - the relation to the Other - stalls and leaves Memmi' s novel writing in an impasse. This is the subject of the first part of this study.

No further novels will be written. However, the essays - examined in the second part ¬starting with Portrait du colonisé, will proliferate, progressively asserting Jewish identity with Portrait d'un Juij and La Liberation du Juij. From the conflictive duo, the work evolves towards the pacific triad of the concept of dependence, where the relation to the Other progresses from oppression to mutual exchange. Henceforth, the dependence relationship will characterise the later essays, including Le Racisme.

Through the essays, the omnipresent "I" gradually gives way to the humanist "we", enveloping the reader, who coincides with the Other and becomes the centre of the author's concern. This space granted to the Other is consolidated in writing of an increasingly fragmented nature. The discourse becomes sparse, in an apparent deconstruction of the writing, which, paradoxically, far from signalling a drying up, consummates the autographic project.

© 2000, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Strike, J 2000, Autobiographie et autografphie dans l’oeuvre d’Albert Memmi, DLitt thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07262006-095933/ >

H472/ag

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