Libmonster ID: UK-1403
Author(s) of the publication: S. V. PROZHOGINA

S. V. PROZHOGINA

Doctor of Philology Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: modern French-language Tunisian prose, short stories, born in the "Arab spring"

A series of revolutionary impulses in both the Maghreb and Mashriq, in the Middle East, was called the "Arab Spring". This is a long-awaited time for the hopes of peoples who are tired of the routine of endless waiting for changes in political regimes, social changes, and the fulfillment of promises to change their lives for the better. But this is a truth formulated in this way in Russian literature: "A person is born for the best.".. Moreover, it must necessarily "sound ""proud", and must live according to the Law of Justice. (I want, of course, to add "Equality and Fraternity", but this, alas, was not available anywhere...) And justice has long been lacking for those who achieved independence half a century ago, throwing off the chains of colonialism.

Both then and today, Tunisia was one of the first Arab countries in the Maghreb to light its torch of struggle for independence.

page 69

a better life. On December 17, 2010, a young man whose family had lost its breadwinner, father, took his cart of a greengrocer, a vegetable merchant, and went out of desperation to sell his simple goods in the center of the capital, so that his revenue would be a little more... But from there he was rudely chased away, insulted, pointed out that such as he, the place-on the outskirts, where the poor live... And the young man set himself on fire in protest, dousing himself with combustible material, turning into a living flame, sparks of which engulfed both the north and south of Tunis, as if waiting for this fire of human resentment and contempt for the long-hated order in the country. And then the flames spread beyond it... The results of the Arab Spring are far from positive, but we are talking about hopes.

The inertia of the movement for universal justice can be born in the bundle of protest energy of one nation. But there is no escaping the obvious: it is in the fiction of the Maghreb people that the state of public mood of their country or neighboring countries has always been accurately, psychologically flawlessly, socially clearly and politically objectively, and aesthetically convincingly described. It is enough to know the books of Mulud Mammeri, Kateb Yasin, Dris Shraibi, Assia Jebar, Albert Memmi, Yasmina Khadra.

So the winner of the Goncourt Prize, the famous Moroccan Tahar Bendjelloun immediately responded to the events in Tunisia with his story - almost documentary evidence: "The Jasmine Revolution" (R., 2011), where he practically recreated both the real context and the metaphorical meaning of the uprising of Tunisian youth and their beautiful hopes, similar to the fragrance of the petals of white flowers... It should be noted that our magazine has told a lot about the merits of the new Maghreb culture and literature, and over the past fifty years (since 1964) has systematically informed the interested reader about events in prose, poetry, and significant names in the literature of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

The attentive reader, in addition to the "cultural component" of the life of the countries of North Africa, at the same time could learn about the real state of affairs in these countries and the mood of their societies. Such is the quality of this literature, which from the very beginning, even in the era of the anti-colonial struggle of its peoples, wanted to become a realistic picture of their lives, an artistic typification of social transformations and "fractures", a kind of measure of the depth of people's experiences in post-colonial reality.

In the last two decades, literature (especially Algerian, and sometimes Moroccan, and Tunisian) has often become the only true document, even if it is artistic, sometimes literally recording what happened in the Maghreb or among Maghreb immigrants in the West... The testimonies of such luminaries as M. Dib, R. Boujedra, M. Tlili, T. Bendjelloun, B. Sensal are worth a lot, and the names and works of M. Mokkedem, S. Benshekrun, H. Boussedjra and other young Maghreb women only add to the list of artistic documents of the era when the atrocities of Islamic integrists on Maghreb land were equated with the damage from colonial occupation. The times were different, and other voices were heard.

Yes, they will tell me, but these are all French-speaking poets and writers, it is "easier" for them to sound, they have a different audience, a special one, open to the West, perceiving everything that happens, not so religiously and mystically, but apriori-critically, questioning, questioning, stating certain social and political factors. "dissonances" as a condition for a necessary (or even inevitable) change in life... And my opponents will be right.

Language is part of the mindset. And the language of the former metropolis, chosen voluntarily by many representatives of the Maghreb's artistic intelligentsia, is a special legacy of French civilization, evidence of its deep penetration into the Arab-Berber culture of North Africa.

They also created samples of the latest Maghreb literature, which easily fit into the mainstream of the world literary process, expanding the sphere of traditional French literature and its everyday writing area, decorating it with new bright names, new content and even forms, and sometimes outstripping the mobile semantic structures of the "new French novel", surprising the world with a combination of surreal poetry and acute poetry.- political prose in a single text space.

Innovation (and at the same time respect for the traditions of Arab, Berber, and French cultures) was noted. The works of Maghrebians, which were already objectively included in the scope of the concept of "cultural heritage" of North Africa of the XX century, did not go unnoticed or not marked by high prizes and awards. It is not surprising that many French-speaking Maghrebin writers and poets have been awarded world-famous prizes in France. Among the famous French-speaking Maghrebians - and the winners of the award "For the best Arabic novel" Moroccan A. Serhan, Algerian B. Sansal, winners of the national prizes of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia Noureddine Aba, R. Timouni, M. Tlili and others.

In the early 2000s , there was just an outbreak of new young names for both Moroccans (especially women!) and Algerians (there are also quite a few women's names among them, which is very significant - life is moving forward despite religious fanaticism). And now-and Tunisians!

New voices are heard in a new political context: this is no longer a time of "fractures", "transitions" or "stagnation, hopelessness of dead ends and gloomy tunnels of postcolonial reality", when not everyone knew which "light" to go to... Today is the time for a burst of new energy of the people, their belief that their native country can be raised from its knees and not just loved, but renewed, changed, rebuilt.

A small volume of short stories, which I noticed on the shelf of the library of the Institute of the Arab World, gave me a completely new encounter with my beloved Tunisia. It is called "Tunisian News" ("Nouvelles de Tunisie". P., 2012). They are readily published not because they report something sensational, but because they have confidence in the truth, and this gives a special resonance to their sound.

One of the novels is vaguely reminiscent of poems from the collection of Tunisian Tahar Bekri "Plowman

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The Sun " 1, although written almost twenty years later... Iman Bassalah (b. 1975) in this skilful study, psychologically subtly capturing the nuances of both the Arab and French mentality, and as if echoing the compatriot M. Tlili, who recreated in his brilliant novel "Afternoon Heat in the Desert"2 the end of the colonial coexistence on the Tunisian land of two different worlds and the reign of "lifeless heat" and the "dusty darkness" of the enmity of peoples, appeals to something completely different. He writes not only about the love of a Frenchwoman for his country (it, this land, was loved before!), but about the desire to live and die on it in the name of love for another, in the name of the love of different people who are looking for the most important thing in their lives: the path from heart to heart. Without war. Without the threat of expulsion. After all, a person knows where he can take root.

And this tragedy of rooting was described by many French people who lived in the Maghreb and Maghreb writers. And the last of them - the winner of the Goncourt Prize, Moroccan T. Bendjelloun, seemed to have preceded the story of his young Tunisian colleague I. Bassalah with the novel "Home" (2009), where he captured the tragic exodus from France of a Moroccan immigrant who never managed to find peace in his native land, children who almost forgot it, and died in a vainly built house for him. in the house. Return failed 3.

Another short - story writer, Lina ben Mhenni (b. 1983), a compatriot of Basalakh, whose story is published below, knows from her own experience that the easiest way is to plunge into the darkness of misery, into the abyss of despair, the troubles that have befallen a person in this dysfunctional world, but she tries to save a person, break him out of the shackles of misery, lead him to the road leading to the Light, and therefore lights its torch in the heart awakened by the revolution... Let's wish her a sunny road too...


1 About the poet, see: article by Prozhogina S. V. in zhurnal. Asia and Africa Today, 2013, No. 10.

2 About him, see: Prozhogina S. V. article "In search of the present time", Moscow, 2011.

3 For the novel, see Krylova N. L., Prozhogina S. V. Path to Self, Moscow, 2013.


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S. V. PROZHOGINA, Tunisia: NEW VOICES IN LITERATURE // London: British Digital Library (ELIBRARY.ORG.UK). Updated: 07.12.2023. URL: https://elibrary.org.uk/m/articles/view/Tunisia-NEW-VOICES-IN-LITERATURE (date of access: 19.04.2024).

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