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Mouloud Feraoun, Masculinist Systems and Feminine Thanatos

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Postcolonial literary criticism has long acknowledged the importance of the work of Mouloud Feraoun (1913–1962) as an expression of autochthonous lived experience in opposition to the orientalist narratives that had previously defined the Algerian literary domain. This article argues that contained within Feraoun's re-drawing of the terms of Kabyle existence from a Kabyle perspective is a critique of the symbolic reality of Kabyle life itself, particularly of its gendered divisions. Specifically, this article illuminates the potential for Feraoun's texts to be read through the prisms of Bourdieusian sociological and Lacanian psychoanalytical epistemologies where they evoke oppressive masculinist symbolic structures and women's capacity to manipulate, resist and subvert these structures. Special attention is paid to evocations of a feminine revolutionary 'death drive' or Thanatos in the novels Le Fils du pauvre (1950), La Terre et le sang (1953) and Les Chemins qui montent (1957), and to a feminine awareness of the 'phallic' nature of pernicious Kabyle masculinist epistemes that lead to the ruin of Feraoun's protagonists.
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Keywords: ALGERIAN LITERATURE; DEATH DRIVE; ETHNOLOGY; JACQUES LACAN; KABYLIA; LITERARY SUBVERSION; MASCULINIST SYSTEMS; MOULOUD FERAOUN; PIERRE BOURDIEU; THANATOS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 02 December 2017

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  • The Irish Journal of French Studies is an annual international refereed journal published by the Association des Études Françaises et Francophones d'Irlande. Articles in English, French or Irish are welcomed on any aspect of research in the area of French and Francophone culture, society, literature and thought. Articles published within the last two years are available free online to members and may be purchased by non-members. All other articles are available on an open access basis.

    Please note that the Print ISSN listed for the journal on this website applies to volumes 1 to 10, and part of volume 16. All other volumes are published, in their entirety, on-line only.

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