- 静岡文化芸術大学研究紀要 (ISSN:13464744)
- vol.1, pp.15-25, 2000
My essay presents a reading of two novels of Leila Sebbar, a French novelist, whose works are classified usually as North African literature written in French. Born in 1941 in Algeria during the colonial administration to a French mother and an Algerian father, Sebbar never formally studied the Arabic language. She left her homeland in 1959 to attend university in France; she currently resides in Paris. Sebbar's mixed heritage as a so-called "croisee' has engendered feelings of alienation and exile. Considered neither French nor Algerian, she exists simultaneously between two cultures and civilizations. She sets her novels in the economically-depressed milieu of the "Beurs", the second generation of North African immigrants residing in France's turbulent inner cities. Like the author, her characters experience the conflict between cultural identities imposed by France and the traditions of their heritage. In her novels, Fatima, ou les Algeriennes au square (1981) and Sherazade, 17 ans, brune, frisee, les yeux verts (1982), Sebbar creates marginalized heroines and an orality of expression inspired by the patterns of feminine speech unique to the immigrant community. The author explores the difficulties such women experience in forging a new identity amidst the opposing demands of two disparate traditions.