Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

"Je suis un cowboy du far west" : a study of textual métissage in Djanet Lachmet's autobiographical novel Le Cow-Boy (1983)

Caroline Kelley


This paper explores the idea of métissage - a kind of intertextuality - as it has been theorized by Françoise Lionnet (1989) through a close reading of Le Cow-boy (1983), an autobiographical novel by Djanet Lachmet about the Algerian Revolution (1954 - 1962). Lionnet (1989) describes métissage as a textual weaving of traditions in order to reintroduce oral Creole customs and to re-evaluate receives Western concepts. The term carefully links issues of race, politics, reading and writing. Described as a "life-story", Lachmet's Le Cow-boy is the story of Lallia, a young girl growing up during the Algerian liberation struggle of the 1950s and 60s. Providing both a critique of métissage and study of its possible manifestation in the novel, I ask wether life-writing is - in this case - a kind of stratagem that opens up ambiguous spaces of possibility where a subject of violent history and an agent of discourse might engage with one another; where new models of interaction between the personal and the political might be meaningfully explored.

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