Poe‘s Anti-Representational Invocations of the Near East
Poe‘s poetry and fiction are full of cultural and religious references to the Near East. This essay suggests that Poe‘s invocations of the Near East are part of a deliberately anti-representational strategy for dealing with cultural difference that constitutes part of Poe‘s understanding of one of his most central concepts, the ‘arabesque’. This anti-representational strategy is built on Poe‘s sympathetic reading of texts associated with the Near East, Islam, and Arab and Persian cultures.
This is the first English language publication of an interview with James Baldwin
(1924–87) conducted by Nazar Büyüm in 1969, Istanbul, Turkey. Deemed too long for
conventional publication at the time, the interview re-emerged last year and reveals
Baldwin’s attitudes about his literary antecedents and influences such as Richard Wright,
Langston Hughes, and Countee Cullen; his views concerning the “roles” and “duties” of a
writer; his assessment of his critics; his analysis of the power and message of the Nation
of Islam; his lament about the corpses that are much of the history and fact of American
life; an honest examination of the relationship of poor whites to American blacks; an
interrogation of the “sickness” that characterizes Americans’ commitment to the fiction
and mythology of “race,” as well as the perils and seductive nature of American power.
population of 35 million, with
their most long-standing communities concentrated in particular regions
including in the east Kabylia and the Aurès mountains, and to the south
the Mzab and the nomadic Tuaregs of the Sahara Desert (see Change 2009 : 19). Modern
Algeria is however officially an Islamic state and its national language is
Arabic: both legacies of the Arab invasion that began in 647.
Sunni Islam is the official religion
perceived from a Maghrebi immigrant point of view (whereas
Mémoires d’immigrés , for example, carefully minimises
references to contentious wartime experiences), but also because their wartime
settings destabilise traditional Islamic gender hierarchies. Directors Rachida
Krim and Bourlem Guerdjou, 5 both
of whom owe the inspiration for their screenplays to their parents, have made
clear in interview that they intend their films to function as vectors of memory
and periods. The three chosen here represent an awareness
of the loss caused by the segregation of the sexes and the patriarchal
nature of Algerian familial and social relations. The context for these
films is to a large extent derived from not just Islamic traditions and
taboos but also state policies in both colonial and postcolonial Algeria.
Each film approaches the question of gender from a distinct perspective: in
In terms of the so-called 'clash of civilisations' after '9/11', Islamic states such as Algeria have too often been perceived in the West as 'other' and hence as threatening. This book, via an analysis of cinema, provides a discussion on some misunderstandings and assumptions about Algeria, which remains to a large extent underrepresented or misrepresented in the UK media. It is about Algerian national cinema and illuminates the ways in which the official mythologising of a national culture at the 'centre' of the postcolonial state has marginalised the diverse identities within the nation. Tahia ya didou occupies a pivotal position between fiction and documentary, capturing the hectic modernization of the Boumediene era while reflecting back on the aftermath of historical trauma. La Citadelle presents gender differences as culturally engrained and patriarchal power as secure. Youcef, Bab El-Oued City and Rome plutôt que vous present differing visions of how a Freudian melancholia in the shadow of a crushed revolt might relate to Algerian experience after Black October. Lettre à ma soeur listens to the voices of the subaltern; the film is a sense of re-emergence that follows the initial insurgency of Nabila's activism, the trauma of her killing and the subsequent years of silence and self-imposed incarceration.
contrast, white-authored films usually
represent the beurs in isolation from their families, making their distance
from their culture of origin a sign of their integration.
Nevertheless, there are a number of absences in the representation
of the beurs’ culture of origin, which may reflect the need not to
alienate a majority audience. First, even though adherence to Islam (however
token) is perceived as a key component of the beurs’ identity (and
war between the victorious
Mujahideen saw the emergence of the hard line Islamicist regime of the Taliban.
The Ayatollah Khomeini, already in power after the Iranian revolution of 1979,
named America the Great Satan, for his own reasons, on 5 November of that
year. The USSR entered Afghanistan a month later, on Christmas day, at the
request of the imperilled Marxist government that had became further threatened by the proximity of Iran and Islamic militancy. These were the events that
determined the end of the cold war and what followed.
The Iranian reference to
Prends dix mille balles et
tire-toi (1980) and currently lives in France, Allouache – who has
enjoyed an international reputation since the success of Omar Gatlato
(1977) – moved to France after Bab El Oued City (1994) was refused
distribution in Algeria because of its criticism of the rise of Islamic
fundamentalism, and Moknèche, who was brought up in Algeria, left to study
abroad and has worked in various capacities in a number of countries
Additionally, this ‘widening of the focus’
provided an extra dimension to the justification for war, in that the
Taliban regime was already known in the West as one which, through its
extreme interpretation of Islamic law, violated human rights. This
aspect of the case for military action was particularly highlighted by
Prime Minister Tony Blair, who invested the ‘war on