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Transfigurations of the Maghreb

Feminism, Decolonization, and Literatures

1993
Author:

Winifred Woodhull

Transfigurations of the Maghreb

Through readings of some of the best-known texts in Algerian literature in French, Woodhull both challenges the separation between French and Francophone literatures and cultures in the academy and explores the ways in which “femininity” has been represented in the texts of North African and French writers since the mid-1950s.

Through readings of some of the best-known texts in Algerian literature in French, Woodhull both challenges the separation between French and Francophone literatures and cultures in the academy and explores the ways in which “femininity” has been represented in the texts of North African and French writers since the mid-1950s.

Transfigurations of the Maghreb: Feminism, Decolonization, and Literatures is an informative, passionate, and provocative book. She successfully demonstrates that in the study of a literature or culture, theory cannot be separated from politics.

Petra Fachinger

Through readings of some of the best-known texts in Algerian literature in French, Woodhull both challenges the separation between French and Francophone literatures and cultures in the academy and explores the ways in which "femininity" has been represented in the texts of North African and French writers since the mid-1950s.

Transfigurations of the Maghreb

Winifred Woodhull is assistant professor of literature at the University of California in San Diego. She has published numerous articles on twentieth-century literature, critical theory, and cultural studies.

Transfigurations of the Maghreb

More than a survey of recent Maghrebian literatures written in French, Woodhull’s readings here on the issues of feminism and decolonization in those literatures offer a critique of contemporary post-structuralist theories and the politics of postcolonialism and immigration. Woodhull proposes a crucial realignment of literary history, feminist debates, poststructuralist theory, and colonial and postcolonial studies, as well as close re-readings of important works of the Maghrebian narrative. Recommended for graduate and undergraduate libraries.

Choice

By probing the ways in which the female protagonist has been either absent or present in Maghrebian fiction, she offers insights that help explain the current power struggle between Islamic fundamentalists and Western-oriented men and women.

World Literature Today

The book’s theoretical sophistication, its cultural breadth, and its engaging disquisitiveness are not the least of its qualities. In the multilayered folds of its interdisciplinary scholarship, Woodhull has woven a comprehensive transcultural survey to which specialists in the field will be indebted.

Research in African Literatures

Transfigurations of the Maghreb: Feminism, Decolonization, and Literatures is an informative, passionate, and provocative book. She successfully demonstrates that in the study of a literature or culture, theory cannot be separated from politics.

Petra Fachinger

Transfigurations of the Maghreb is a rigorous engagement with various contemporary scholars’ readings of language, gender and subjectivity in the works of Maghrebian authors. It spans the colonial and postcolonial eras, critically dissecting the ways that ‘femininity’ has been exploited, misrepresented, effaced or foregrounded—by colonizer and colonized alike—in the dynamics of oppression, resistance, agency and subjugation.

Middle East Report

For Ms. Woodhull, Francophone North African literature is not simply another ‘chapter’ in the Canon of French Studies, it is rather a matter of exploring a new territory, or more exactly of revealing a process of deterritorialization which has been and still is at work in the novels and the theoretical works of the African writers she selected.

Réda Bensmaïa, Brown University