Writing the Black Decade: Conflict and Criticism in Francophone Algerian Literature examines how literature—and the way we read, classify, and critique literature—impacts our understanding of the world at a time of conflict. Using the bitterly-contested Algerian Civil War as a case study, Joseph Ford argues that, while literature is frequently understood as an illuminating and emancipatory tool, it can, in fact, restrain our understanding of the world during a time of crisis and further entrench the polarized discourses that lead to conflict in the first place. Ford demonstrates how Francophone Algerian literature, along with the cultural and academic criticism that has surrounded it, has mobilized visions of Algeria over the past thirty years that often belie the complex and multi-layered realities of power, resistance, and conflict in the region. Scholars of literature, history, Francophone studies, and international relations will find this book particularly useful.
Joseph Ford is lecturer in French studies at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London.
Introduction: Writing the Black Decade
Chapter 1: Rethinking Testimonial Literature in Rachid Mimouni, Assia Djebar and Maïssa Bey
Chapter 2: Exploring Complicity in Salim Bachi
Chapter 3: Beyond a Grotesque Aesthetics of the Black Decade in Habib Ayyoub
Chapter 4: Specters of the Black Decade in Kamel Daoud’s Meursault, contre-enquête
Chapter 5: Deconstructing Oppositional Criticism in Mustapha Benfodil’s Archéologie du chaos [amoureux]
Conclusion: Beyond the Language of Crisis and Conflict
About the Author