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Deconstructing the Grotesque in Contemporary Francophone Algerian Literature, or: How to move beyond the ‘zombified’ State?

Citation: Ford, Joseph (2020) Deconstructing the Grotesque in Contemporary Francophone Algerian Literature, or: How to move beyond the ‘zombified’ State? Irish Journal of French Studies, 20 . ISSN 2009-941X (In Press)

Deconstructing the Grotesque in Contemporary Francophone Algerian Literature-SAS-space.pdf

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Taking Achille Mbembe’s theory of the grotesque as a starting point, this article examines how a series of contemporary Algerian novels deploy an aesthetic of the grotesque to contest and deconstruct the operation of State power in Algeria. The article shows how three writers of the post-civil war period (Habib Ayyoub, Salim Bachi and Mustapha Benfodil) engage in distinct yet related ways with representations of the grotesque and the obscene in a renewed effort to break out of a state of false consciousness that renders citizens and observers complicit with the structures of power in place. The article argues that one of the reasons Mbembe’s landmark essay is so important to the situation now faced by Algerian artists, writers and civil society, is because it helps us to see the failure of the grotesque as a contestatory aesthetic and hence provides new insight into the spectacle of power at work in Algerian society and politics.

Creators: Ford, Joseph (0000-0002-0361-621X) and
Official URL: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/irjofs/ijfs
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Politics
Keywords: Francophone Algerian literature, grotesque, Mbembe, Ayyoub, Bachi, Benfodil.
Divisions: Institute of Modern Languages Research
Dates:
  • 1 August 2020 (accepted)

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