June 17, 2005 5:51 AM   Subscribe

Assia Djebar the Algerian novelist and filmmaker was elected to fill the only vacancy at the Académie Française, the august French institution that watches over the French language. Ms. Djebar, 68, is the first North African to join the 40-member academy. Most interesting in light of recent discussions here on Dutch/Muslim relations. Comments from those who've read her books or know her from her work at LSU or elsewhere would no doubt be appreciated
posted by IndigoJones (12 comments total)
(Scratch "no doubt". Sounds even more affected than usual. Snitty, even, which was not intended.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:58 AM on June 17, 2005

I scratched No Doubt and Gwen Stefani oozed out. My doctor said it was infected.
[/lame humor]

I've never read her, but I'm interested. This seems like a pretty big deal for the Academie.
posted by OmieWise at 6:25 AM on June 17, 2005

Hey, IJ, do you have a link to the actual announcement of her election? French is ok.
posted by OmieWise at 6:29 AM on June 17, 2005

Not as such (I heard it on the Radio Deux on the way to work this morning), but in the Academie Francaise link you can do a search for her name under Les Immortels button, then under the 700 members. (For some reason, I could not get the link to work in the posting. Obviously this was a hasty post.) No doubt more will appear during the day. I'll try to keep an eye on it.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:40 AM on June 17, 2005

(Could not get AP link to work, I mean. Not doing well this morning. But it's out there. The first line of post is from them. Failing that, try here for 4th estate validation)
posted by IndigoJones at 6:54 AM on June 17, 2005

Looks like she’ll be in seat no. 5.
posted by misteraitch at 7:01 AM on June 17, 2005

Assia Djebar
Elue à l'académie française.

With the proviso that I think the Académie is a bunch of useless tortoises of elitism (self-link), this is a Good Thing. And I'm sure she'll enjoy the uniform.
posted by languagehat at 7:06 AM on June 17, 2005

She seems an odd choice, if the Academie is preservationist. I read Fantasia in college. If I recall correctly, it was quite anti-imperialist in tone and subject matter. But then, everything I read in college was presented in the framework of Said's Orientalism, so my memory could be confusing her with another author.
posted by mds35 at 7:11 AM on June 17, 2005

Thanks for the link languagehat.
posted by OmieWise at 7:38 AM on June 17, 2005

One interesting thing is that, like many French or French-speaking scholars (see also Derrida, Baudrillard, Girard etc.) she seems to be more known in the US than in France.
posted by elgilito at 7:45 AM on June 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

ahh! I really like this post! I saw a play by her last year at NYU. It was the Algerian White. I thought it was powerful. But I also find her struggles with the arabic language very interesting:

After Algeria gained independence, Djebar was criticised for writing in French, when writers were supposed to switch to the national language, Arabic. (...)

In the 1970s Djebar began to study classical Arabic to enlarge her ways of expression. In her later novels she has manipulated the French language, giving it the sounds and rhythms of Arabic. (...)

Djebar's long literary silence in the 1970s was partly due to her recognition that she was not going to become an Arabic-language writer and her interest in non-literary art forms.

Thanks, IJ.
posted by carmina at 9:33 AM on June 17, 2005

Thanks for the post IJ. Often I'm afraid that LSU is known only (if at all) for introducing the world to Shaquille O'Neal. Geaux Tigers!
posted by turbodog at 10:45 AM on June 17, 2005

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