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Bilingue l’obscur: Blanchot in the interstices of Abdelkebir Khatibi’s Amour bilingue

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This study understands the textual resemblance between the 1941 novel Thomas l’obscur by Maurice Blanchot and the 1983 novel Amour bilingue by Abdelkebir Khatibi to be more than coincidental, and is instead a calculated, strategic rewriting on the part of Khatibi. This analysis targets the reasons behind Khatibi’s appropriation of Blanchot, suggesting that the obvious textual borrowing ultimately works to advance Khatibi’s project of the ‘double critique’. An examination of Khatibi’s theoretical strategies as a politically committed writer reveal his aim to articulate the multifarious nature of Maghreb identity freed from the unitary and universalizing notions of national and cultural identity inherent in Western metaphysics and Arab-Islamic culture. These well-studied strategies structure his novel, Amour bilingue, although it is Blanchot’s significant influence on the novel that has eluded critics in the past. The implications of this act of textual appropriation challenge the ideas we have about originality and creation while they also raise questions about the liberties to which politically committed literature lays claim.
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Keywords: Bilingualism; deconstruction; double critique; francophone identity; intertexuality; plagiarism; postcolonial

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Mississippi

Publication date: 2004-11-01

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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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