On French-Language Tunisian Literature

Bekri, Tahar
June 1992
Research in African Literatures;Summer1992, Vol. 23 Issue 2, p177
Academic Journal
Literary Criticism
The article focuses on the position of French language in the Tunisian literature. Unlike the French-language literatures of Algeria and Morocco, that of Tunisia has been of secondary importance for a long time, although it includes works with obvious literary ambitions. Tunisian writing in French must be understood within the context of the 1881 establishment of the French Protectorate in the country, but it must be remembered that, even after that date, teaching in the schools continued to be conducted in both French and Arabic. Tunisian writers have often felt that the conflation of several different linguistic fields, with politico-linguistic attitudes that were imposed on literary production has created a number of dilemmas in which choices often cannot be made without conflict and constraint. Since independence, bilingualism and diglossia have helped bring about a linguistic reality that is capable of evoking passionately held opinions and violent disagreements.


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