Between Sea and Sahara gives us Algeria in the third decade of colonization. Written in the 1850s by the gifted painter and extraordinary writer Eugene Fromentin, the many-faceted work is travelogue, fiction, stylized memoir, and essay on art. Fromentin paints a compelling word picture of Algeria and its people, questioning France’s—and his own—role there. He shows French dynamism tending to arrogance, tinged with malaise, as well as the complexity of the Algerians and their canny survival tactics. In his efforts to capture the non-Western world on paper as well as on canvas, Fromentin reveals much about the roots of a colonial relationship that continues to affect the Algeria of today. He also reveals his own development as painter, writer—and human being.
Now available for the first time in English, Between Sea and Sahara appeals to today’s reader on many levels—as a story of color, romance, and dramatic tension; as an eywitness account of the colonial experience in Algeria; as a study in trans-genre text, foreshadowing Fromentin’s psychological masterpiece, the novel Dominique. And, as Valérie Orlando points out in her introduction, Fromentin opens a window on the ethos informing the fashion of Orientalism that flourished with colonialism.
Eugene Fromentin (1820-1876) was a master in two arts. Especially known for his paintings of North Africa, he was the author of two travel books on the region. He also wrote the novel Dominique and a work on Flemish and Dutch painting. Both Flaubert and George Sand thought highly of him as a writer. More info →
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Why should Salman Rushdie describe his truth telling as an act of swallowing impure “haram” flesh from which the blood has not been drained? Why should Rudyard Kipling cast Kim, the imperial child–agent, as a body/text written upon and damaged by empire? Why should E. M. Forster evoke through the Indian landscape the otherwise unspeakable racial or homosexual body in his writing?
Contemporary French writing on the Maghreb—that part of Africa above the Sahara—is truly postmodern in scope, the rich product of multifaceted histories promoting the blending of two worlds, two identities, two cultures, and two languages.Nomadic Voices of Exile demonstrates how that postmodern sentiment has altered perceptions concerning Maghrebian feminine identity since the end of the French-colonial era.
Tales of deforestation and desertification in North Africa have been told from the Roman period to the present. Such stories of environmental decline in the Maghreb are still recounted by experts and are widely accepted without question today. International organizations such as the United Nations frequently invoke these inaccurate stories to justify environmental conservation and development projects in the arid and semiarid lands in North Africa and around the Mediterranean basin.
A timely and original short biography reintroducing Fanon for a new generation of readers. Written with clarity and passion, Christopher J. Lee’s account argues for the pragmatic idealism of Frantz Fanon and his continued importance today.
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