Accumulated testimony: layering French girls' diaries on the Algerian exodus

Hubbell, Amy L. (2014) Accumulated testimony: layering French girls' diaries on the Algerian exodus. Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature, 38 2: 1-16. doi:10.4148/2334-4415.1011

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Author Hubbell, Amy L.
Title Accumulated testimony: layering French girls' diaries on the Algerian exodus
Journal name Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0145-7888
Publication date 2014-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.4148/2334-4415.1011
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 38
Issue 2
Start page 1
End page 16
Total pages 16
Editor Amy L. Hubbell
Natalie Edwards
Place of publication Manhattan, KS, United States
Publisher Department of Modern Languages, Kansas State University
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In 1997, French-Algerian author Leïla Sebbar published an illustrated children’s book, J’étais enfant en Algérie, juin 1962 (‘I was a child in Algeria, June 1962’) in which she creates the fictional account of a young girl from the interior of Algeria leaving her home during the great exodus of the French just prior to Algerian independence. Using the genre of diary writing, Sebbar’s text reads as testimonial of fleeing their country for a homeland they do not know. Although this text is intimate, Sebbar relies on accumulated scraps of collective experience that, when joined to her own, fill in the absence of her homeland. In 2013, French artist Nicole Guiraud published her personal diaries kept before and during her exodus from Algeria from April to July 1962. Her raw representation of traumatic upheaval is couched in a rich paratext including artwork, photographs, and German translations, that simultaneously intensifies her account and distracts the reader from the extreme pain behind her words. In this article I demonstrate how fictional and real accounts published in very different historical contexts convey the exodus experienced by almost one million individuals and how each author deploys a layering technique to simultaneously draw in and distance the reader from extraordinarily painful personal experience.
Keyword Testimony
Algerian war
Leila Sebbar
Nicole Guiraud
Collective memory
Francophone cultural studies
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Languages and Cultures Publications
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Created: Thu, 18 Sep 2014, 09:22:44 EST by Dr Amy Hubbell on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures