From Tahar Djaout's ‘No’ to Mustapha Benfodil's ‘Enough!’: Two Moments of Revolutionary Aesthetics in Contemporary Algerian Literature and Cultural Activism
Twenty-five years before Tahar Djaout's death, the Algerian poet, journalist, dramaturge, and activist Mustapha Benfodil was born in western Algeria. The year was 1968, a year of great turmoil and upheaval on cultural, economic, social, and political levels the world round. Benfodil began life in a revolutionary moment, and such a spirit continues to guide and inform his work today. The same year that Djaout was assassinated, Benfodil paid tribute to him in a poem entitled, "À la santé de la République". This poem connects the two authors and public intellectuals textually in an immediate and evident way. And yet the parallels between the writers, especially concerning the theme of revolution and the artist's relationships with society, the state, and religion, run deep. This article examines the revolutionary content, tone, and approach of both Djaout and Benfodil through the study of revolutionary poetry by the former and an artistic installation, entitled Maportaliche/Écritures sauvages, by the latter. In this revolutionary aesthetic tradition, the stakes of the artist/intellectual/activist's work take on heightened significance, just as this figure finds itself alternatively lionized or censored.
Lewis Cusato, Mary Anne, "From Tahar Djaout's ‘No’ to Mustapha Benfodil's ‘Enough!’: Two Moments of Revolutionary Aesthetics in Contemporary Algerian Literature and Cultural Activism" (2018). Modern Foreign Languages Faculty Work. 98.
Link Out URL