Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French Studies

Document Type



Morocco was under French protectorate between 1912 and 1956 when it gained its independence. This colonization left traces in literature, notably the beginnings of a Moroccan literature written in French. However, while written in French these works include specifically Moroccan features that reflect the diversity and complexity of that nation. I argue that the works written by Moroccan authors such as Abdellatif Laâbi, Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine, Mohammed Choukri, Mohammed Leftah, Ahmed Sefrioui and Tahar Ben Jelloun, post-independence, have significantly contributed to building a decolonized identity for Moroccans. By focusing on the literary tools deployed by these authors the research highlights aspects previously overshadowed when concentrating on the post-colonial context in which they were written. My dissertation research briefly overviews the historical and sociolinguistic context in which Post-independence literature was written. The first chapter presents the process undergone by authors in Morocco, after the independence, to rebuild a literary discourse free of colonial influence. It highlights the role of the journal Souffles, created by Abdellatif Laâbi, in paving the way for future authors. The second chapter details the authorial strategies deployed to renew styles of writing. These strategies include translation, the use of folklore and oral cultural heritage. Drawing from these sources has allowed Moroccan authors to create original works that are hard to categorize following western literary genres and disrupt western rhythms of writing. The final chapter illustrates the subversive nature of these works, in part because they present an alternative image of Morocco. By focusing on the literary attributes of Moroccan works the research highlights its significance for Morocco, as well as for research in the Post-colonial field in general. This focus draws light upon the importance of Amazigh culture and oral literature in making Moroccan literature a decolonized literature. It also draws attention to the importance of understanding Moroccan works as deeply marked by intertextuality. This work explores the role literature has played in stimulating a political conversation about national identity and cultural future, thus addressing the trauma of colonial occupation in a cathartic way. This work opens avenues of studies that move away from the Post-colonial paradigm to concentrate on the cultural project countries such as Morocco envisioned for themselves.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Ngandu, Pius