Algerian literature

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Albert Camus in 1957

Algerian literature has been influenced by many cultures, including the ancient Romans, Arabs, French and Spanish, as well as the indigenous people. The dominant languages in Algerian literature are French and Arabic, but Berber is also represented.

A few of the more notable Algerian writers are , Kateb Yacine, Rachid Mimouni, Mouloud Mammeri, Mouloud Feraoun, Assia Djebar and Mohammed Dib.


The historic roots of Algerian literature goes back to the Numidian era, when Apuleius wrote The Golden Ass, the only Latin novel to survive in its entirety. This period had also known Augustine of Hippo, Nonius Marcellus and Martianus Capella among many others. The Middle Ages have known many Arabic writers who revolutionized the Arab world literature with authors like Ahmad al-Buni and Ibn Manzur and Ibn Khaldoun who wrote the Muqaddimah while staying in Algeria, and many others.

Today Algeria contains, in its literary landscape, big names having not only marked the Algerian literature, but also the universal literary heritage in Arabic and French.


Algerianism was a literary genre with political overtones, born among French Algerian writers who hoped for a common Algerian future culture, uniting French settlers and native Algerians. The terme algérianiste was used for the first time in a 1911 novel by Robert Randau, "Les Algérianistes".[1] A Cercle algérianiste was created in France in 1973 by Pieds-Noirs, with several local chapters. It has for "purpose to safeguard the cultural heritage born from the French presence in Algeria."[2]

Albert Camus, a French-Algerian (or pied noir), is undoubtedly the best known writer ever to come from Algeria. A philosopher, novelist and playwright, Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. While most of his stories are set in Algeria and he supported civil rights for the indigenous Algerians, he opposed Algerian independence, which has hurt his reputation in his homeland.[3]

First step[edit]

As a first step, Algerian literature was marked by works whose main concern was the assertion of the Algerian national entity, there is the publication of novels as the Algerian trilogy of Mohammed Dib, or even Nedjma of Kateb Yacine novel which is often regarded as a monumental and major work. Other known writers will contribute to the emergence of Algerian literature whom include Mouloud Feraoun, Malek Bennabi, Malek Haddad, Moufdi Zakaria, Ibn Badis, Mohamed Laïd Al-Khalifa, Mouloud Mammeri, Frantz Fanon, and Assia Djebar.

After independence[edit]

In the aftermath of independence, several new authors emerged on the Algerian literary scene, they will attempt through their works to expose a number of social problems, among them there are Rachid Boudjedra, Rachid Mimouni, Leila Sebbar, Tahar Djaout and Tahir Wattar.


Current Algerian literature is loosely divided into two groups. The first group is strongly influenced by terrorism that occurred during the 1990s. The second group focuses on an individualistic conception of human adventure. Among the most recent works are Swallows of Kabul and The Attack by Yasmina Khadra, Memory in the Flesh by Ahlam Mosteghanemi and Nowhere In My Father's House by Assia Djebar.

Algerian literature has played a vital role in the culture of North Africa, and its influence is felt throughout the world.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ reedited by Tchou éditeur, coll. « L’Algérie heureuse », 1979 ISBN 2-7107-0195-2
  2. ^ French: Le Cercle algérianiste, créé en 1973, a pour objectif de sauvegarder le patrimoine culturel né de la présence française en Algérie., Site du Cercle Algérianiste, Sauver une culture en péril
  3. ^ Kaplan, Roger (1998-03-02), Difficult choices for France's most reluctant existentialist - author Albert Camus' existentialism and its conflict with his moral beliefs, FindArticles, retrieved 2007-09-26 
  4. ^ Literature of Algeria, retrieved 2007-09-26