Verbal Arts and Storytelling in Mouloud Feraoun’s La Terre et le sang (1953)

Nadia Naar Gada



The present article examines Mouloud Feraoun’s second novel, La terre et le sang (1953), in order to explore the ways Feraoun fuses Kabyle cultural elements to exemplify the preponderance of his culture as a source of dialogical connections with the culture imposed by the French. The analysis of the novel is undertaken in the light of Ruth Finnegan’s theoretical methods in her book Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts: A Guide to Research Practices (1992). Avoiding binary and evolutionary models, Finnegan explores the complexity and interrelatedness of narrative and culture. What makes her interdisciplinary approach particularly interesting and relevant to the present analysis of Feraoun’s novel, is her emphasis on the exploration of the interrelatedness of a text and the cultural environment of its production. More precisely, Finnegan’s theoretical insights concerning “functionalist and ‘reflection’ approach” can be said to fundamentally inform our understanding of the ways Feraoun transcribes, shapes and translates oral elements into a presentable written form. The essence of Finnegan’s approach also consists in the emphasis on how art forms and oral traditions are closely related to society. Another important feature of her theoretical perspective consists in her rejection of explanations in terms of either individual personality or origins, which she replaces by synchronic and socially oriented questions. This may explain the ways in which Feraoun celebrates cultural diversity and the valuable richness of experience his text displays in building bridges between the oral – Kabyle – and the written – French – traditions.


rehabilitation, identity construction, storytelling, cultural oral forms




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