Literature, Language, Culture

Algeria's literature has been largely influenced by the ancient Romans, the Arabs, French, Spanish and indigenous tribes. Contemporary Algerian literature shows a strong divide between French and Arabic. Many well-known and widely translated literary figures have come out of Algeria, including poets, novelists, essayists and playwrights. Algerian literary works will give you great insight into the perceptions, culture and issues faced by the people of Algeria.

Kateb Yacine is one of the most recognized and influential writers in Algeria’s literary history. Born in 1929, Yacine became well-known for both his plays and novels written in an Arabic dialect and French. His support of Algeria’s national cause is clearly seen in works such as “Nedjma”, which is set in the time of the war against France. Other books written by Kateb Yacine include “Soliloques”, “Le Cercle des represailles”, “L’Homme aux sandales de caoutchouc”, “Boucherie de l’esperance”, “Le Poete comme un boxeur” and “Parce que c’est une femme”.

Mohammed Dib wrote more than 30 novels, many short stories, children’s books and poems in his career. He is renowned for his innovative works, which relate to the 20th century of Algeria’s history. Many of his literary works were centered on the battle for independence in Algeria. Albert Camus was also a renowned literary figure in Algeria during the 20th Century. A philosopher and author, Camus received a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 and was recognized as having great influence on absurdism. His works include novels, short stories, non-fictional books and plays such as “The Stranger”, “La Mort heureuse” (“A Happy Death”), “Le Mythe de Sisyphe” (“The Myth of Sisyphys”), “La Femme Adultere”, “Neither Victim Nor Executioner”, “Nuptials” and “Caligula”.

Assia Djebar, Fatima-Zohra Imalayen’s pseudonym, is an Algerian woman novelist, filmmaker and translator. Many of her works focus on the lives and issues faced by Algeria’s women. Assia Djebar received much recognition when she was elected to the Academie Franeaise in June 2005. Her works such as EA Sister to Scheherezadee, have placed her amongst North Africa’s most influential authors.

It is clear from the above examples that Algeria’s literature and literary figures have played a vital role in this fascinating North African country, and exerts an influence far beyond its borders.

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