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It was and it was not so: Edmond Amran El Maleh remembers Morocco

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The opening formula to stories in Arabic, ‘It was and it was not so ... it happened and it never did,’ reflects the ambivalence of contemporary Moroccan writers towards the recording of history through writing. In his autobiographical novels, particularly Parcours immobile and Ailen ou la nuit du rĂ©cit, the Moroccan Jewish writer Edmond Amran El Maleh questions the legitimacy of the ‘official’ and ‘objective’ accounts of the past and offers an alternative to historical narratives. Through metafiction and dialogic voices that unsettle fixed notions, he suggests that only fictional and oral accounts can capture the complexities of historical and cultural representations. He also examines the role of photographs in the reconstruction process of memory. El Maleh exemplifies his own ideal of a writer who preserves and revives the past in order to open the way to a better future.

Keywords: Autobiography; Deconstruction; History; Judaism; Memory; Metafiction; Morocco; Photography; Writing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Colorado State University

Publication date: 2003-07-01

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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