Writing on the "unhealable rift": Exile and (be)longing in Leïla Sebbar and Darina Al Joundi
Forum for Modern Language Studies
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Reason for embargo
Currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by Oxford University Press. 24-month embargo to be applied on publication.
This article draws together questions of longing and belonging, identity, community, and citizenship, in a discussion of two Francophone women writing about the divisiveness of historical conflict. It proposes that experiences of conflict silence these women, exile them and leave them without community. The analysis focuses on Franco-Algerian writer Leïla Sebbar and Lebanese author and actor Darina Al Joundi, and suggests that, despite different backgrounds, contexts, approaches and genres, the need to belong is processed in their work so that the texts they create through this longing help to recover not only a sense of self, but also a sense of community, or belonging. Taking Edward Said’s essay ‘Reflections on Exile’ as its starting point, the article explores how both Sebbar and Al Joundi exemplify characteristics that Said posits as common to the experience of exile. The analysis is offered in three parts: the first looks at experiences of exile, and how these create or deny identity. It then moves on to consider how Sebbar and Al Joundi attempt to ‘reconstitute’ lives that have been broken by war or a legacy of war, before working towards the subject of the final section, life writing as a method of creating community and territory in the text.
This is the author accepted manuscript.
Awaiting citation and DOI