The first chapter in Part III deals with Abdellah Taïa’s autofictional work:
his short fiction collections Mon Maroc and Le rouge du
tarbouche, and his novels Salvation Army and An Arab
Melancholia, with due reference to Taïa’s debut film, Salvation
Army. This chapter firstly explores Taïa’s chosen genre and its
articulation of embodiment. It then links the writing of the self to Taïa’s
postcolonial queer melancholia, conceptualised in dialogue with Jean
Starobinski’s notion of l’errance – errancy – which performs an
assemblage of temporalities validating his position as a gay, Moroccan,
Muslim, Arab man. It is argued Moroccan society’s homophobia triggers
religious doubt in Taïa’s autofictional self, and a desperate embrace of
matrilineal and Sufi versions of Islam is posited at a remove from Islamist
Sunni literalness. The chapter also analyses Taïa's critique of
colonial social hierarchies in contemporary Western sexual tourism. It is
suggested Taïa’s most hopeful episode of homoerotic connection is enacted in
the representation of queer diasporas, where same-sex desire articulated in
transit temporarily dissolves man-made geographical and personal borders.
Finally, it is proposed that Taïa’s articulation of the legacies of pre- and
Islamic poetry inscribes his queer sensibility within the long continuum of
Arab cultural history.
This chapter pinpoints 27 December 1601 as the date of the first performance
of Twelfth Night – and demonstrates that Shakespeare wrote his play for two
audiences, one at Elizabeth’s Court, the other at the Inns of Court.