The violence of remembering and forgetting: gender, nation and narration in the aesthetic reception of Dido/Elissa

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Abstract:

This article examines the representation of Dido/Elissa in Tunisian literature and nationalism and the literary, visual and performing arts of the West. This study has three central arguments. The first holds that the myth of Dido has served in these various discourses as an aesthetic tool to discuss expanding empires and state hegemony as well as gender, racial and national identity. The second claim this study makes is that all discourses on Dido are enunciated from specific hegemonic positions; be they privileges of race, class, gender, nationality, or education. The last argument affirms that these various artistic modes (epics, operas, paintings, novels, or museums), have produced images of Dido that are overlapping and contradictory at times. Dido emerges in the end as a liminal or trickster figure who defies all boundaries and definitions.

Keywords: Dido; Maghreb; archive; arts; francophone; nationalism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijfs.8.1.71/1

Affiliations: University of Alabama

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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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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