Albert Memmi

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Albert Memmi (1982)
by Claude Truong-Ngoc

Albert Memmi (Arabic: ألبرت ميمي‎; born December 15, 1920) is a French writer and essayist of Tunisian-Jewish origin.

Biography[edit]

Born in Tunis, in French Tunisia, to a Tunisian Jewish mother, Marguerite Sarfati, and a Tunisian-Italian Jewish father, François Memmi, Albert Memmi grew up speaking French and Tunisian-Judeo-Arabic. He claims to be of Berber ancestry. During the Nazi occupation of Tunisia, Memmi was imprisoned in a forced labor camp from which he later escaped.[1]

Memmi was educated in French primary schools, and continued on to the Carnot high school in Tunis, the University of Algiers where he studied philosophy, and finally the Sorbonne in Paris. Albert Memmi found himself at the crossroads of three cultures, and based his work on the difficulty of finding a balance between the East and the West.[2]

Parallel with his literary work, he pursued a career as a teacher, first as a teacher at the Carnot high school in Tunis (1953) and later in France (where he remained after Tunisian independence) at the Practical School of Higher Studies, at the HEC High School in Paris and at the University of Nanterre (1970).

Although he supported the independence movement in Tunisia, he was not able to find a place in the new Muslim state both because of his French education and his Jewish faith, and following independence he "was asked to leave" the new state.[3]

Writings[edit]

Memmi's well-regarded first novel, La statue de sel (translated as The Pillar of Salt), was published in 1953 with a preface by Albert Camus and was awarded the Fénéon Prize in 1954.[4] His other novels include Agar (translated as Strangers), Le Scorpion (The Scorpion), and Le Desert (The Desert).

His best-known non-fiction work is The Colonizer and the Colonized, about the interdependent relationship of the two groups. It was published in 1957, a time when many national liberation movements were active. Jean-Paul Sartre wrote the preface. The work is often read in conjunction with Frantz Fanon's Les damnés de la Terre (The Wretched of the Earth) and Peau noire, masques blancs (Black Skin, White Masks) and Aimé Césaire's Discourse on Colonialism. In October 2006, Memmi's follow-up to this work, entitled Decolonization and the Decolonized, was published. In this book, Memmi suggests that in the wake of global decolonization, the suffering of former colonies cannot be attributed to the former colonizers, but to the corrupt leaders and governments that control these states.

Memmi's related sociological works include Dominated Man, Dependence, and Racism.

Sean P. Hier, in a review of Memmi's Racism, calls it "well-written and autobiographically informed." He writes that Memmi's main claim is that racism is a "'lived experience' arising within human situations which only secondarily become 'social experiences.' According to Hier, Memmi writes that racism is "endemic to collective human existence."[5]

Memmi has also written extensively on Judaism, including Portrait of a Jew, Liberation of the Jew and Jews and Arabs. Some of these books have been issued by Plunkett Lake Press in eBook form.[6]

He is also known for the Anthology of Maghrebian literature (written in collaboration) published in 1965 (vol. 1) and 1969 (vol. 2).

Reviewing Memmi's fiction, scholar Judith Roumani asserts that the Tunisian writer's work "reveals the same philosophical evolution over time from his original viewpoints to less radical but perhaps more realistic positions." She concludes that "his latest fiction is certainly more innovative and different than his earlier work."[7]

In 1995, Memmi said of his own work: "All of my work has been in sum an inventory of my attachments; all of my work has been, it should be understood, a constant revolt against my attachments; all of my work, for certain, has been an attempt at...reconciliation between the different parts of myself."

Bibliography[edit]

French[edit]

  • [A contre-courants. Paris: Nouvel Objet, c1993.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-84085-002-8
  • [Ah, quel bonheurécédé de L'exercice du bonheur. Paris: Arléa: Diffusion Seuil, c1995.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-86959-250-7
  • [Albert Memmi : un entretien avec Robert Davies suivi de Itinéraire de l'expérience vécue à la théorie de la domination. Montréal: Éditions L'Étincelle; distributeur, Réédition Québec, c1975.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [Bonheurs: 52 semaines. Paris: Arléa, c1992.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-86959-142-X
  • [Le buveur et l'amoureux: le prix de la dépendance. Paris: Arléa : Diffusion Seuil, c.1998.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-86959-391-0
  • [Ce que je crois. Paris: B. Grasset, c1985.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-246-31171-3
  • [La dépendance: esquisse pour un portrait du dépendant. Paris: Gallimard, c.1979.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [Le désert: ou, La vie et les aventures de Jubair Ouali El-Mammi. Paris: Gallimard, c1977.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [Dictionnaire critique à l'usage des incrédules. Paris: Kiron/Editions du Félin, c.2002.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-86645-430-8
  • [L'écriture colorée, ou, Je vous aime en rouge: essai sur une dimension nouvelle de l'écriture, la couleur. Paris: Périple : Distribution Distique, c1986.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-904549-03-X
  • [L'Homme dominé. Paris: Gallimard, 1968.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [L'Homme dominé; le Noir, le colonisé, le prolétaire, le Juif, la femme, le domestique, le racisme. Nouvelle éd. Paris: Payot, 1973.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-228-32230-X
  • [L'individu face à ses dépendances. Paris: Vuibert, c2005.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-7117-6181-9
  • [Le juif et l'autre. Etrepilly: C. de Bartillat, c1995.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-84100-025-7
  • [Juifs et Arabes. Paris: Gallimard, 1974.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [Le nomade immobile : récit. Paris: Arléa, c2000.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-86959-521-2
  • [Le personnage de Jeha dans la littérature orale des Arabes et des Juifs. Jerusalem: Institute of Asian and African Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem [1974?]] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [Le pharaon : roman. Paris: Julliard, c1988.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-260-00535-7
  • [Portrait du colonisé, précédé du portrait du colonisateur ... Preface by Jean-Paul Sartre. Paris: Payot, 1973.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [Portrait du colonisé, précédé du portrait du colonisateur; preface by Jean-Paul Sartre. Suivi de Les Canadiens francais sont-ils des colonisés? Ed. rev. et corr. par l'auteur. Montréal: L'Etincelle, 1972.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 0-88515-018-X
  • [Portrait du colonisé, précédé de portrait du colonisateur: et d'une préface de Jean-Paul Sartre. Paris: Gallimard, c1985.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-07-070550-1
  • [Portrait du décolonisé arabo-musulman et de quelques autres. Paris: Gallimard, c2004.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-07-077110-5
  • [Portrait du décolonisé arabo-musulman et de quelques autres. Ed. corr. et augm. d'une postface. Paris: Gallimard, c2004.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-07-077377-9
  • [Portrait d'un Juif. Paris: Gallimard, 1962–66.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [Le racisme : description, définition, traitement. Paris: Gallimard, c1982.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-07-035461-X
  • [Le Scorpion, ou, La confession imaginaire. Paris: Gallimard, 1969.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [La statue de sel, roman. Paris: Correa [1953].] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [La statue de sel. Préf. d'Albert Camus. Éd. revue et corr. Paris: Gallimard, 1966.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
  • [Térésa et autres femmes: récits. Paris: Félin, c2004.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) ISBN 2-86645-568-1
  • [La terre intérieure: entretiens avec Victor Malka. Paris: Gallimard, c1976.] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)

English[edit]

  • The Colonizer and the Colonized. Introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre; afterword by Susan Gilson Miller; translated by Howard Greenfeld. Expanded ed. Boston: Beacon Press, c1991. ISBN 0-8070-0301-8
  • Decolonization and the Decolonized. Translated by Robert Bononno. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, c2006. ISBN 0-8166-4734-8
  • Dependence: A Sketch for a Portrait. New York: Orion Press [1968].
  • Jews and Arabs. Translated from the French by Eleanor Levieux. Chicago: J. P. O'Hara, c1975. ISBN 0-87955-327-8 ISBN 0879553286
  • The Liberation of the Jew. Translated from the French by Judy Hyun. New York: Orion Press [1966].
  • The Pillar of Salt. Translated by Edouard Roditi. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8070-8327-5
  • The Pillar of Salt. Chicago: J. P. O'Hara, [1975] c1955. ISBN 0-87955-907-1
  • Portrait of a Jew. Translated from the French by Elisabeth Abbott. New York: Orion Press [1962]
  • Racism. Translated and with an introduction by Steve Martinot. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, c2000. ISBN 0-8166-3164-6
  • The Scorpion, or, The Imaginary Confession. Translated from the French by Eleanor Levieux. New York: Grossman, 1971. 0670622710
  • Strangers. Translated from the French by Brian Rhys. New York: Orion Press [1960]

Hebrew[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Colonizer and the Colonized," back cover material
  2. ^ Kabanda, Théophiste. "La Permanence de l'exil dans le roman francophone." Nouvelles études francophones. 1:24, 2009.
  3. ^ Martinot, Introduction to "Racism," at xvi
  4. ^ Brennan, Carol, "Memmi, Albert 1920–", Contemporary Black Biography. Encyclopedia.com.
  5. ^ Hier, Sean P. (2001). "Racism". Canadian Journal of Sociology. 26 (1): 127. 
  6. ^ Memmi. "Albert". Plunkett Lake Press. 
  7. ^ Bouraoui, Hedi (1989). "Albert Memmi by Judith Roumani". Research in African Literatures: Special Issue on African Fiction. 20 (1): 126–127. 
  8. ^ "The Colonizer and the Colonized". Plunkett Lake Press. 
  9. ^ "The Liberation of the Jew". Plunkett Lake Press. 
  10. ^ "The Pillar of Salt". Plunkett Lake Press. 
  11. ^ "Portrait of a Jew". Plunkett Lake Press.