This book works on the interface between literature, culture, and discourse. It is entirely devoted to the reading of some of Zafzāf’s novels that came out in the early 1970s and in the late 1980s, and attempts to chart the trajectory of the aesthetic imaginary of an exceptional writing experience that marked out the literary and cultural landscape in Morocco and in the Arab world for long. Zafzāf and his writings are associated with aspects of the country's social contradictions, cultural transition, and political transformations, expressed through various aesthetic patterns that translate the crisis of the intellectual within a society weighed down by poverty, political instability, social conflict, and cultural disintegration. Given the relative scarcity of resources that are written in English about the Moroccan novel of Arabic expression, this work is an attempt to theorize and approach in an interdisciplinary manner a set of narratives that have not been previously explored in western academia. Using postcolonial discourse as approach and a metaphor of reading, it draws attention to the often-neglected texts in Moroccan literature of Arabic expression and explores their aesthetic, discursive, and cultural implications that rethink and disturb canonical formations of literary texts in Morocco. This book will be adopted in the now burgeoning fields of the Humanities, and will provide useful resources for courses about Moroccan Literature and culture.
Lhoussain Simour is associate professor of English and cultural studies at Hassan II University of Casablanca, Morocco, and senior research associate at the University of Gibraltar.
Part I: Postcolonial Malaise in Narration and the Construction of Narrative Imaginary
Part II: Narration through Episodes from the Margin: The Negotiation of Marginality and the Formation of Marginal Identities
Part III: Random Strings of Encounter (Re)Imagined: Narrative Building and Characterization Remapped
Part IV: Of Women and Roses: Pleasures of Encounter in Al-Marʾa wa al-warda [The Woman and the Rose] (1972)
About the Author
Lhoussain Simour brings a depth and breadth of knowledge about Moroccan fiction to his study of the works of Mohamed Zafzaf. Too often, Arabic language writing is passed over in English language scholarship on Morocco and this study demonstrates the vibrancy of writing in Arabic, especially the complex interplay of aesthetics and politics in fictional writing. The chapters of the book trace Zafzaf’s novelistic trajectory, and offer a thorough exploration of Moroccan literary history as well as its dynamic literary scenes, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s. I learned a great deal from Simour’s study and recommend it.
Simour offers readers of English a detailed and carefully nuanced study of the life and fictional works of Mohamed Zafzaf, one of the primary participants in the early stages of the development of a tradition of modern Moroccan Arabic fiction. However, even within that more limited regional context, the author notes that Zafzaf’s contribution has thus far been somewhat overlooked, whence the significance of this study.
Simour offers a cogent and expansive study of the works of Mohamed Zafzaf one of Morocco’s most famous twentieth century Arabic-language novelists and poets. From examining the environments of the poor and underprivileged in the Morocco of the 1970s and 1980s during the infamous “Years of Lead” under King Hassan II, to Zafzaf’s more social-realist texts of the early 1990s, Simour reveals the literary world of an author little known to anglophone readers. Zafzaf’s writing reflects a postcolonial Morocco in the effervescence of transformation as populated by a newly liberated culture able to engage with the social, political, and historical challenges of its era.
This book sets out to address the relative neglect of the literary accomplishments of Moroccan writer Mohamed Zafzāf. Attending to Zafzāf’s use of poetic and social realism, it incisively and empathetically guides the reader through the ways in which Zafzāf’s novels scrutinize and illuminate conditions of marginalization and estrangement in postcolonial Morocco. Simour’s study thereby achieves an impressive and most welcome breakthrough in the reception of Zafzāf’s work.