Journals Higher Education



Published: 08 November 2004

176 Pages

6 x 9 inches

ISBN: 9789774246678

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Bookseller Code (02)

Graying of The Raven

Cultural and Sociopolitical Significance of Algerian Folk Poetry

Aida Bania

A Publication of The American University in Cairo Press

With a fine touch, Aida Bamia has explored the work of Muhammad bin al-Tayyib 'Alili (c.1894 c.1954), a hitherto virtually unknown oral poet of Algeria, bringing to her analysis new understanding of folk poetry as part of a people's collective memory and their resistance to colonization. For 'Alili's audience the despair and suffering faced by poor farmers before independence is embodied by the raven, grown old and gray with ceaseless frustration and humiliation. Because of its oral and all too often ephemeral nature, the work of poets such as 'Alili could escape close scrutiny by French colonial administrators who sought to eradicate nationalistic and ethnic elements. With succinct commentary, Bamia presents an outstanding historical and contextual background for 'Alili's repertoire, while she details the richness and variety of poetic forms that had developed in North Africa.


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