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L'Autorité dissimulée - l'autorité manifeste: L'écriture de la violence chez Yasmina Khadra
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Language and Literature.
2012 (French)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Dissimulated Authority - Manifest Authority : Yasmina Khadra's Representation of Violence (English)
Abstract [en]

L’Autorité dissimulée – l’autorité manifeste. L’écriture de la violence chez Yasmina Khadra.

(Dissimulated authority – manifest authority. Yasmina Khadra’s representation of violence.)

 This study examines the representation of violence in two novels by Algerian author Yasmina Khadra (1955 - ): Les Agneaux du Seigneur (1998) and À quoi rêvent les loups (1999). The narrative techniques employed in these texts and, more directly, the assertions made by the author in interviews and autobiographical works give the impression of a writer aiming to impose on the reader a specific view of the Algerian civil war (1992-1998) while at the same time asserting that the novels are objective representations of the same historical period.

  This authoritative position, it is argued, is surprising in the light of two discourses. According to the first, events of extreme violence are fundamentally inexpressible and therefore any work of art dealing with such events must find a way to express this inexpressibility. Secondly, many historians, journalists and writers argue that the civil war in Algeria was particularly ungraspable, and eludes being rendered affirmatively in any work, fictional or not.

  The study aims to explain how Yasmina Khadra construes his authority in the fictional texts and via his performance in the media. The concepts of a dissimulated authority and a manifest authority are conceived in order to elucidate the ambiguous discourse created by Khadra in which we find both a need to convince the reader of the legitimacy of his rendering of the violent events and a tendency to explicitly take control of and guide our interpretation of the novels.

  The final chapter of the dissertation argues that Khadra’s prolific use of animal vocabulary at once dissimulates and makes manifest the idea of an author wanting to impose certain ideas and ‘truths’ on the reader. In the conclusion it is suggested that the violence of the novels extends beyond the subject matter into Khadra's very approach to writing: that the two novels do not so much reflect the idea of the violence as a creator of chaos, but rather, in browbeating the reader into a passive role, end up imitating the very forcefulness and single-mindedness of violence itself.

  The methodological approach of the study consists of a close reading as well as a thorough contextualization of the novels. The classical narratological concepts established by Gérard Genette are used to examine the dominant narrative modes of the stories. In explaining the ways in which Khadra proceeds to persuade the reader of the truth-value of the texts the theory on realistic discourse developed by Philippe Hamon constitutes an important reference.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linnaeus University Press, 2012. , 228 p.
Linnaeus University Dissertations, 98Linnaeus University Dissertations
Keyword [fr]
Yasmina Khadra, Violence, Autorité, Indicible, Littérature algérienne, Guerre civile algérienne, Agneaux, Loups
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Humanities, French literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-21578OAI: diva2:550714
Public defence
2012-10-19, Sal Weber, Linnéuniversitetet, 351 95 Växjö, Växjö, 13:00 (French)
Available from: 2012-09-10 Created: 2012-09-07 Last updated: 2016-04-27Bibliographically approved

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