The Narrative Mediterranean

The Narrative Mediterranean : Beyond France and the Maghreb

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The Narrative Mediterranean: Beyond France and the Maghreb examines literary texts by writers from the Maghreb and positions them in direct relation to increasingly querulous debates on the shifting identity of the modern Mediterranean. A transnational rather than binary interpretive framework transcends a colonial and postcolonial bind in which France is the dominant point of reference. While focusing on works in French, this book also examines Maghrebi authors who write in Italian.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 214 pages
  • 160 x 230 x 22mm | 498.95g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739168215
  • 9780739168219

Table of contents

Table of Contents Introduction Part I: Humanism and History Chapter 1: A Humanism of the Sun Chapter 2: Of Chronological Others and Alternative Histories Part II: Deconstructing Binaries Chapter 3: On Gender Chapter 4: Shifting Geographies Part III: Crossing the Straits and Moving the Center Chapter 5: (E)migration, Imagination And Dissonance Chapter 6: Addio Faranca: Into the 21st Century Conclusion: Reflections on a Future Bibliography About the Author
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Review quote

The Narrative Mediterranean is one of a number of critical studies following the publication of Pour une litterature monde (2007), a manifesto examining the decentering of France and of the French language in works written by so-called Francophone authors. Esposito focuses on authors associated with the Maghreb, the former French colonies in North Africa, and the degree to which their works promote a polysemic, transgressive Mediterranean as an alternative to ahegemonic and monolithic France. The study opens with the treatment of historical concerns as in the works of Albert Camus, Fawzi Mellah, and Amin Maalouf before moving on to Nina Bouraoui and Tahar Ben Jelloun, whose works are analyzed as destabilizing traditional binaries of male and female, north and south, France and the Maghreb. The third section considers Mahi Binebine, Abdelmalek Smari, Mohsen Melliti, and Amara Lakhous, along with Ben Jelloun, as authors of Maghrebi origin who literally write outside of France and, with works published in Italian, outside of the French language. Esposito raises a number of interesting questions about the continued validity of the concept of 'national' literatures and invites comparisons between Mediterranean-ness and other transnational approaches to the study and production of literature. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. CHOICE Esposito's book is a solid analysis that takes the reader to a postcolonial Maghreb beyond France's influence. It is a unique discussion that, while giving a central place to the Mediterranean in literature, incorporates history, culture, and civilization, creating a dynamic dialogue demonstrating that any literary text is inscribed in time and space...[The book is a] valuable ... [contribution] that show[s] how literature is breaking through geographical boundaries and making a crossroad of the Mediterranean. Contemporary French Civilization In a book, which in many ways itself narrates the contemporary Mediterranean, Claudia Esposito brings together a number of contemporary writers who trace their roots to the Maghreb and Mashreq and whose connections, so often drawn along the lines of nation and language, might otherwise be overlooked...Esposito challenges the reader to look beyond the notions of identity, race and language fixed within the limits of the nation state. Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies The beautifully focused arguments in this book propose the cultural intensities of an open and multiple Mediterranean that shatters the narrow dichotomies that discipline our views and verdicts. We are justly asked to step beyond existing boundaries, hear the dissonance and register the complexities of a world whose fluidity is irreducible to immediate domestication. Just as the familiar is rendered foreign, so the foreign acquires familiarity in the challenge and possibilities of a Mediterranean still in the making. -- Iain Chambers, University of Naples Claudia Esposito's well-researched, beautifully written book makes a significant contribution to Mediterranean Studies as well as Francophone Studies in the Maghreb. As the title indicates, The Narrative Mediterranean: Beyond France and the Maghreb examines literary texts outside of the binary, dichotomous relationship between the former colonizing power and the postcolonial countries of North Africa. In this work, Professor Esposito presents her readers with a new perspective on Maghrebian authors situated with respect to the Mediterranean, understood as a transnational space that offers a multitude of possible points of interaction and intersection. The Narrative Mediterranean is an example of fine scholarship that is highly informative as well as deeply insightful. What is especially noteworthy is Claudia Esposito's attention to the importance of other languages that complicate the French/Arabic dilemma when it comes to the idiom of expression in the written text. Her fascinating chapter on authors from the Maghreb who have chosen to compose literary works in Italian is innovative and important in its recognition of the plurilingualism that characterizes this region. -- Alison Rice, University of Notre Dame
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About Claudia Esposito

Claudia Esposito is assistant professor of French at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her research interests focus on translation, migration, urban geographies and transcultural crossings in Maghrebi and French literature and film. Her articles on Albert Memmi, Tahar Ben Jelloun and Abdellatif Kechiche have appeared in several journals including Studies in French Cinema, Expressions Maghrebines, Journal of Postcolonial Writing and The French Review.
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