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Identifying the displaced self: A study of selected works by Driss Chraibi and Tahar Ben Jelloun

Ibnlfassi, Laila; (1998) Identifying the displaced self: A study of selected works by Driss Chraibi and Tahar Ben Jelloun. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Francophone Maghrebian literature is concerned, in general terms, with cultural and socio-political issues. Because this theme recurs, it seems logical that critical approaches used to the study of this literature are often sociological, political or linguistic (in the sense of dealing with language issues in the Maghreb) . The aim of this thesis is to step back from such pre-ordained approaches and adopt a novel perspective that can enhance and enrich the reading of this literature. As such, the objective of this work is to deduce the autobiographical act from what seem purely fictional texts, and to use a psychoanalytical approach which enables the reader to consider how a protagonist's search for selfhood is reflective of its creator, i.e. the author. The psychoanalytical perspective in this thesis helps mainly to detect a self, which for various reasons is fragmented. Freudian, Lacanian and Kleinian tools are used to provide an interpretation of the self in selected work of Driss Chraibi and Tahar Ben Jelloun, which are viewed as exemplars. The discussion starts with the idea that the self is split and conflictual; but this situation is misrecognised, denied and displaced by the authors in question. This misrecognition operates at the expense of the female characters in the novels studied and the female gender in general. The patriarchal Moroccan society provides men with a freedom which is denied to women. However, men's freedom is merely a mask; so to express their true inner feelings, the male writers studied here appropriate women's voice - that is, the voice of absence. Accordingly, women and their absent voices become rhetorical devices, such as metaphors, which are used as a means of displacement and distantiation whereby it is men's subjectivity which is constructed. Both Chraibi and Ben Jelloun use the female figure in an attempt to resolve their own inner conflicts and inadequacies, in terms of cultural and sexual identities respectively. The detour taken by these writers to achieve their selfhood is here interpreted as a game of postponement on their part of what seems like an underlying knowledge of the impossibility of such achievement.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Identifying the displaced self: A study of selected works by Driss Chraibi and Tahar Ben Jelloun
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Social sciences; Maghrebian literature
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097331
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