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Assia DJEBAR׃ The Icon of the Feminist Algerian Literature.

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Assia DJEBAR׃ The Icon of the Feminist Algerian Literature.

Dr.  MEGA Afaf



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This article endeavors to present the creative side in one of the works of Assia Djebar, namely L’Amour et la Fantasia. Though she wrote in the French language, one notices her love to her country Algeria through the themes and  the issues she treats in her works.

Assia Djebar whose real name was Fatma Zohra Imalayene was born on 30Th of June  in (1936) in Cherchal and Died on 6th of February in ( 2015) in France. She was an academic, a writer and a director.

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After her coranic education in Cherchal and them secondary education in Blida, she continued her university in the Sorbonne university in France where she got her Phd from Monpelier in Paris. After the bloody war, she returned to Algeria to teach history at the university of Algiers.

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In 1995, she moved to the united states of America where she taught the French literature.

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In 2005, she was elected  as a member in the Academy of the French Language.

She is considered among the most seminal feminist writers either in Algeria or abroad. She is known as being the  writer who defends the rights of women at first hand in a hard patriarchic society; in addition to her condemnation of the French colonialism.

Assia Djebar was awarded the Newstad International Prize in (1996) as she also won the prize of the book exhibition in Germany in (2000). And finally, she was nominated for the noble prize for literature.

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Works of Assia Djebar

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Assia Djebar ’s contribution to the literary scene varies from the novel, poetry, drama and cinema.

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Though living far from her native country Algeria, the spirit and the pulse of her home town was incarnated and represented in all her writings.

Here works are translated into 21 languages, we mention some:

  • Nulle part dans la maison de mon père,
  • Ces voix qui m’assiègent: En marge de ma francophonie,
  • Les Nuits de Strasbourg, roman, Actes Sud, (1997)
  • Oran, langue morte, (1997), (short story)
  • Le Blanc de l’Algérie, Éd. Albin Michel, Paris, (1996)
  • Vaste est la prison, Éd. Albin Michel, Paris, (1995)
  • Loin de Médine, Éd. Albin Michel, Paris, (1991)
  • Ombre sultane, roman, J.-C. Lattès, (1987)
  • L’Amour, la fantasia, roman, J. C. Lattès/Enal, (1985)
  • Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement,(1980)
  • Rouge l’aube, théâtre (1969)
  • Poèmes pour l’Algérie heureuse,  (1969)
  • Les Alouettes naïves, Éd. Julliard, Paris, (1967)
  • Les Enfants du Nouveau Monde, Éd. Julliard, Paris, (1962)
  • Les Impatients, Éd. Julliard, Paris, (1958)
  • La Soif, Éd. Julliard, Paris, (1957)


–  La Nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua (1978)

     – La Zerda ou les chants de l’oubli (1982) avec Malek Alloula


Innovation in Assia Djebar Literary Style

      We have chosen to talk about Assia literary style through our reading of her distinguished novel L’ Amour, la fantasia because it demonstrates her power in both the creation and imagination. In fact, this novel is a hybrid of themes, images, feelings through her depiction of the characters and events presented in a rich formulae that fills both the reader’s imagination,feelings. And thought.   

In this novel and in an autobiographical form, Assia Djebar talks about the woman and the oppression imposed on her by her society, the suffering of the Algerians under the French colonization, images of death, the French language, love, marriage, her courage in her participation in the fight against colonialism, and her identity as a woman endowed with a double culture.

So what are the innovations that feature L’ Amour, la fantasia?.

  • Fragmented Plot Structure׃ This novel has no definite structure; uncommon structure, no complication, no climax or resolution. At first glance, the reader sees a collection of scattered pieces of different stories which obviously are interrelated. The story is presented in the form of a succession of images where each image tells a story different from the preceding or the following one. To make it clear, for example, at the beginning of the novel, the writer starts with the narrator’s first day going to school with her father and the neighbors’ unjustified objecting reactions. This image is followed by an other image her record  of the early French invasion to Algeria. Then she moves to shed light on the restrictive traditions of her society that were imposed on women. This is again followed by recalling the first days of the French settlement in Algeria, and so in a non-linear structure where the writer jumps in time backward and foreward in reciting these images which has the impact of making the reader in front of chaoting but at the same time related fragments.


  • The Multiple Narrative Voices׃ Assia Djebar has shown a high craft in her manipulation of the narrative voice within the novel. She uses the first person narrator ‘I’ when she narrates about herself, the third person subjective ‘she’ when she refers to herself in some places in the narrative; for example, her travel to France and her marriage there; the third person objective narrator when she recalls the history of the French colonialism in Algeria, and even the unknown narrator. What calls for attention is the shift between the first person narrator and the third person narrator when she recalls her personal experiences. That is she refers to herself using ‘I’ and sometimes using’ she’.  A movement between closeness and distance. In her closeness, using the ’I’, the reader identifies with her in her feelings and actions like when she states her position regarding the French language or when she narrates her contribution in the revolution. On the other hand in other situations, she refers to herself using ’she’ when she talks about her detainment by the French revolution. And sometimes she combines the two voices in one image.

Furthermore, scholars even go deeper in analyzing the writer’s use of the first person narrator ’I’. This ‘I’ can also include the ‘we’ which suggests the presence of other voices, a group of voices within the ‘I’.. In an interview with Lisa Gauvin, she explains that this strategy is conditioned by the multiplicity of the views on the same event. Therefore, having multiple voices within an autobiography, Assia Djebar has introduced a new way to its writing. the fact that makes the novel a collage of different utterances by other people. (Http׃//letters-et-arts.net/literatures-francophones-etrangeres. 2017).


  • Hyphenation (-)׃ This literary device is commonly used in poetry where the poet breaks the final word of a line by a hyphen to be completed in the next line. (Http׃//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hyphen, 2017). Assia Djebar displays it in this novel in two forms; in words, and between sentences like the following example׃ « Ces soeurs qui habitaient le hameau avaient été les seules musulmanes a fréquenter lécole pri-maire. Or leur pére- un companard robuste et pieux, le meilleur connaisseur de la région en cultures maraichéres-ne savait ni lire; ni écrire le francais» ( L’Amoure, la fantasia, p: 06).

When this structure signal is used between sentences or phrases it suggests a silence, because in the mechanics of writing, it is used to replace a long comma. This silence can be explained as the narrator trying to recall and remember some historical or personal facts.

Whereas when the hyphen breaks the word, there is a change in the rhythm within the word which inspires heaviness and sadness as well.

  • The Creation of a New Genre׃ History and autobiography are both present in this novel. In this way, Assia  Djebbar creates a new narrative genre. In mixing between history and her personal life, we can say that the writer is conveying the message that  the history of Algeria is an essential composition in her identity..


     In this paper, we discussed the innovative side of the great Algerian writer Assia Djebbar in her seminal novel L’Amour, la Fantasia. The variety in themes, voices and literary technics reveal her creative side that is worth to be further analysed and elaborated with her other works.


  • Include the Literature of Assia Djebar in the official syllable in the language department of Arabic.
  • Organize a national seminar that may shed light on her seminal works.


  • Http׃//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hyphen, 2017).
  • (Http׃//letters-et-arts.net/literatures-francophones-etrangeres. 2017).
  • L Amour, la fantasia. Assia Djebar.(1985).


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