Events in Modern Languages & Cultures
Dr Zahia Salhi: Between the Languages of Silence and the Woman’s Word: Gender and Language in the Work of Assia Djebar
To explore the issue of language in Djebar’s work is no easy matter. In fact one may speak of languages rather than language and of voices rather than voice. And even when we speak of voices, Djebar’s work is often about the non-voice and the multifarious silences of women. One important factor that groups these languages, voices and silences together is the omnipresent question of gender, which makes the main axle of Djebar’s work from her first novel in 1957 to the present. Nevertheless, these two elements: language and gender are indissoluble when one speaks of Djebar, not only as a bi-lingual and Francophone writer but also as a bi-cultural woman straddling two worlds; that of the coloniser and that of the colonised both in colonial and post-colonial Algeria. She affirms “For me, feminism has always been tied up with the question of language” (Djebar 1992:176). This paper endeavours to investigate the tantalizing fashion in which these two entities work in the Djebarian oeuvre.
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