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Decolonising the IntellectualPolitics, Culture, and Humanism at the End of the French Empire$
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Jane Hiddleston

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380321

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380321.001.0001

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date: 22 October 2018

Jean El-Mouhoub Amrouche The Universal Intellectual?

Jean El-Mouhoub Amrouche The Universal Intellectual?

(p.145) 4 Jean El-Mouhoub Amrouche The Universal Intellectual?
Decolonising the Intellectual

Jane Hiddleston

Liverpool University Press

The French Kabylian poet Jean El-Mouhoub Amrouche, famously labelled the ‘Algérien universel’ by Mohammed Dib, has been seen as a sort of epitome of the fraught interaction between France and Algeria, and Amrouche's own conception of his role as intellectual to some extent mirrors this aspiration to universality. Nevertheless, this chapter explores how Amrouche's confidence in his ability to adapt his stance, to identify with distinct groups and speak across different communities, turns out to be more precarious than this characterisation implies. His stance as intellectual everyman to some extent enables him to speak for multiple ethnic and religious communities in Algeria, and yet his rhetoric distances him from the immediate and urgent concerns of Algerian people – including Muslims. Amrouche's confident stance as the ‘Algérien universel’ is intermittently underpinned by a sense of alienation, irresponsibility, and doubt.

Keywords:   Amrouche, universalism, intellectual, alienation, poetry

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