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Djebar

Assia Djebars, Fantasia Assia Djebar believed that the process of Western acculturation excluded her from most if not all aspects of the traditional womens world. This resulted in her mastery of the French language and access to public space. This view of exclusion led Djebar to her Algerian Quartet, which is a writing project to reestablish links with the maternal world, which she felt distanced from, but in fact never lost (Ghaussy3). They are all polyphonic texts that combine personal and collective memory. In these texts Djebar adds her own voice to those of her maternal ancestors, both historical and legendary. Fantasia, is the first part of the quartet. In Fantasia, she interweaves autobiographical fragments with other strands of narrative like history and oral narrative. She widens the scope of autobiography to embrace the collective voice, inserting her discourse within the community of Algerian women. Autobiography becomes Djebars way back to the cherished maternal world of her past, where she seeks healing and reconciliation from a self fragmented by the colonial experience (Ghaussy4). At the same time, it allows Algerian womens muted voices and veiled presences to emerge into public space.Before beginning the quartet, Djebar, trained as a historian, undertook an oral history project that involved probing Algerian womens collective memory. In the mid 1970s she interviewed women in her native region of Cherchell which participated in the independence struggle. The majority that she had interviewed was young women during the war, facing danger and hardship with the male soldiers. Djebar then selected pieces of womens narratives and inserted them into Fantasia, bringing together the oral history of Algeria (Ghaussy1).In part III of Fantasia, titled Voices From the Past, Djebar uses different narrative voices, which are women who share their traumatic life stories, as women and as prisoners. For instance, the first mov...

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