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Itzea Goikolea-Amiano

Published On


Page Range

pp. 241-276

Print Length

35 pages

7. The Poetics and Politics of Solidarity

Barg el-Lil (1961) and Afrotopia

  • Itzea Goikolea-Amiano (author)
This chapters pivots around Tunisian Bachir Khreyif’s Barg el-Lil (1961), the first Arabic historical novel in which the protagonist is a Central African slave. The chapter situates the novel, set in sixteenth-century Tunisia, within Khreyif’s literary trajectory in the context of the wake of independent Tunisian print culture and state nationalism led by Habib Bourguiba, of debates about ‘committed literature’ and the wave of pan-Africanism that swept through the Maghreb and the rest of the continent in the 1950s and 1960s. The chapter further interrogates the locatedness of the story and the Mediterranean, as well as pan-African, geographical imaginaries it foregrounds, its literary form, and its language use. The last part of the chapter focuses on the interrelation between the poetics and the politics of gender and solidarity, and the work Barg el-Lil does in relation to the gendered modern ideal and state feminism, especially the 1956 Personal Status Code, promoted by Bourguiba.


Itzea Goikolea-Amiano