SOAS University of London

Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)

The invention and reinvention of Moroccan literature/s (1938-2018)


Date: 13 June 2018Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 13 June 2018Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4426

Type of Event: Seminar


In Morocco, the process of establishing a literary canon was, as it usually happens, linked with national awakening under colonialism. The first works devoted to Moroccan literature conceived as a national literature are, in fact, inseparable of the program of the nationalists and the anti-colonial movement. In 1938 the Tangier polymath  ĽAbd Allah Kannun tackled for the first time the whole history of Arabic literature in Morocco in al-Nubug al-magribi fi l-adab al-`arabi (Moroccan Genius in Arabic Literature). It was the intention of this work to draw attention to the long and continued Arabic literary tradition of Morocco and to underline the contributions of its people to classical Arabic literature and Islamic heritage vis-à- vis the colonizers, but also vis-à- vis the the nahda formulations of the Mashriq that had disregarded Morocco. By then, and for many decades, Moroccan literature could only Arabic. Since, there has been many changes and negotiations as for the place of other Moroccan literatures in the national canon, such as Amazigh, or as for the place of literatures written in the language of the colonizers within the national configurations. The culture of the Sahara (and literature in darija) also emerge as a crucial element in constructing a new Morocco where linguistic and cultural minorities occupy now a prominent place, as reflected in the amended constitution of 2011 and a burst of diasporic Moroccan authors.


Gonzalo Fernández Parrilla is since 2016 director of the Departamento de Estudios Árabes e Islámicos, (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). Between 2002-2006 was director of the Research Centre Escuela de Traductores de Toledo (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha), and Deputy Director since its foundation in 1994. He is the author of La literatura marroquí contemporánea, and co-editor of books such as Orientalismo, exotismo y traducción and Autobiografía y literatura árabe. In 2012 was member of the judging panel of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. He is director of the series of Arab authors translated into Spanish Memorias del Mediterráneo published by Ediciones del Oriente y del Mediterráneo. Translator into Spanish of Marruecos, Sáhara… (Diarios 1974-1981) by Moroccan Abdallah Laroui and Diario de un illegal by Moroccan Rachid Nini. His research and articles revolve around Moroccan literature and culture, the Arabic novel and translation from Arabic, topics on which he has published extensibly in numerous international journals.


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