Isabelle Eberhardt And North Africa: Nomadism As A Carnivalesque Mirage by Lynda ChouitenIsabelle Eberhardt And North Africa: Nomadism As A Carnivalesque Mirage by Lynda Chouiten

Isabelle Eberhardt And North Africa: Nomadism As A Carnivalesque Mirage

byLynda Chouiten

Hardcover | November 12, 2014

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As a woman who traversed the North African Orient in male costume, who spoke Arabic as well as French, and who professed Islam while transgressing many of its instructions, Isabelle Eberhardt seems to fit within Mikhail Bakhtin's definition of the carnivalesque as the impulse to blend that which is usually kept separate by artificial boundaries and hierarchies. Nevertheless, this study demonstrates that her evolution in the Maghreb is carnivalesque only in appearance. Despite her transvestism, the writer left unquestioned the traditional definitions of masculinity and femininity; it is her subscription to the patriarchal equation of maleness with power and womanhood with weakness which makes her borrow a masculine identity. In a similar way, her appropriation of several elements of Oriental culture does not prevent her from reproducing age-old Orientalist stereotypes. As portrayed in her texts, the natives are either aestheticized as picturesque figures from a bygone age or denigrated as uncivilized, dark-minded creatures. And because Orientalism, as Edward Said has famously argued, is but a textual manifestation of colonialism, Eberhardt's Orientalist texts make her the accomplice of the colonialist project, a project which she also served by acting as a mediator between General Lyautey and native tribes. In discussing Eberhardt's involvement in the colonial mission and her perpetuation of the patriarchal and Orientalist traditions, this study questions the image of rebel-figure that is usually assigned to her. Instead, it shows the writer's literary and political gestures to be embedded in a marked quest for empowerment through the double (literary and political) conquest of the Orient.
Lynda Chouiten teaches literature at the University of Boumerdès.
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Title:Isabelle Eberhardt And North Africa: Nomadism As A Carnivalesque MirageFormat:HardcoverDimensions:246 pages, 9.27 × 6.37 × 0.86 inPublished:November 12, 2014Publisher:Lexington BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0739185926

ISBN - 13:9780739185926

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Table of Contents

ContentsPrefaceAcknowledgmentsList of AbbreviationsIntroductionChapter 1: Possessing the Land, Dividing the PeopleChapter 2: Islam: The Not-So-Straight Way to PowerChapter 3: Desiring Power: The Transvestite Westerner and the Eroticised Native Chapter 4: Journeys: Travel, Writing, and the Changing Self Conclusion: Eberhardt's Life as a Novel-like EpicAppendix 1: GlossaryAppendix 2: A Chronology of Eberhardt's LifeBibliographyAbout the Author

Editorial Reviews

Lynda Chouiten's challenging book on Isabelle Eberhardt provides the first full-length critical study focusing on the writings of a remarkable figure, best known for her travels in North Africa, cross-dressing, and conversion to Islam. Yet Eberhardt also defended traditional gender hierarchies and the separation of peoples, simultaneously engaging in romantic idealization and denigration. Chouiten's valuable account develops a rich theoretical perspective on the Carnivalesque mirage in Eberhardt's work. As an Algerian scholar educated there and in Ireland, Chouiten has made an original and lasting contribution to the literature of travel and colonialism with Isabelle Eberhardt and North Africa: Nomadism as a Carnivalesque Mirage.