Year of Graduation
Level of Access
Open Access Thesis
Department or Program
Romance Languages and Literatures
During the mid-20th century, a new form of Algerian literature emerged, thematically detached yet linguistically tied to France. Novelists aligned with this littérature algérienne de langue française used their narrative power to expose the atrocities of the colonial period, while emphasizing the rising nationalist spirit throughout the country. A peculiar aspect of this national literature is the presence of a child protagonist. Many of Algeria’s most prominent authors centered their first novels on a young boy. This leads to my central question: does the récit d’enfance (childhood narrative) possess certain qualities that lend it useful for representing ubiquitous suffering, as well as an imminent national awakening. My research focuses on two Algerian novelists, Mouloud Feraoun and Mohammed Dib, who employ the récit d’enfance for different aims. In this paper, I first define the récit d’enfance and show how Feraoun and Dib implement this literary style. Secondly, I argue that Mohammed Dib’s trilogy is distinctly political. Employing the critical theories of Frantz Fanon and Benedict Anderson, I contend that Dib’s trilogy, published between 1952-1957, is a littérature de combat (combat literature). Although Feraoun’s publication of Le Fils du Pauvre in 1950 inaugurated Franco-Algerian literature, his work is more reflective than political. Comparing Feraoun and Dib’s early work, allows me to expose the disparate narratives arising in the decade prior to Algerian independence. Their portrayal of colonial oppression, as well as the courage and ambition of an exploited people, remains useful when studying models of colonial and post-colonial nationalism and nation-state.