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The Truncated memories and fragmented pasts of contemporary Algeria: Salim Bachi’s Le Chien d’Ulysse

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Algerian Salim Bachi’s Le Chien d’Ulysse (2001) reveals a world that is caught in the overlapping of truth and myth, hampering the construction of what Pierre Nora describes as the lieux de mémoire necessary for the health of a society’s collective memory. Principal protagonists, Hocine and his friends, are victims of a chaotic parable alluding to the sociocultural disarray which has reigned in Algeria in recent years. Their attempts to construct lieux de mémoire in order to discover the truth about their history and the memories on which it is founded, fail. Hocine, like Salim Bachi, cannot explain how religious fundamentalism came to ravenous, overwhelming power in Algeria during the 1990s. Bachi’s tale is one of a society turned upside down, forced to live a reality that offers little possibility of historical, accurate memory. Such a reality is and was during the 1990s, for the Algerian author, intellectual, journalist, and philosopher, one that had to be rejected.

Keywords: Dislocation; Exile; Historical Revisionism; Islamic Fundamentalism; Lieux de mémoire; Marginalization; Myth; Reterritorialization; auteur engagé

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Illinois Wesleyan 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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