From desire to discontent: Isabelle Eberhardt between cultures

Bennett, Kirsty (2014) From desire to discontent: Isabelle Eberhardt between cultures. Masters thesis (MPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the Islamic and literary aspects of Isabelle Eberhardt's identity
construction and her mediation of the two. In situating Eberhardt within the
Orientalisms of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the thesis examines the
writer's trajectory within a particular nineteenth-century desire for the Orient as well
as her desire for knowledge.
Eberhardt’s desire for status as a female writer within the wider Orientalist
universe is paradoxically based on her male Islamic alter-ego as Mahmoud Saâdi and
her desire to become the Other. I argue that this mediated opposition produces a
figure that ultimately becomes a locus of contestation between Algeria and France.
The assassination attempt (and her subsequent expulsion from Algeria) heralds a
series of letters from Eberhardt to various colon newspapers. The public selffashioning
of her Islamic identity and consolidation of her literary identity, plus the
simultaneous negotiation of the political situation in Algeria, become the focus of
this thesis and constitute what I argue becomes her discourse of discontent.
My argument draws on archival material and it is contextualised within a
historicisation of colonial Algeria and the Ottoman Empire, and the location of Islam
within colonial society. This thesis reveals how Eberhardt was subject to multiple
reconstructions contemporaneously by colon society and by the French metropole. It
argues that, beyond her own self-fashioning of identity, her capacity for ideological
reconstruction continues.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0181 Maghrib. Barbary States > DT0271 Algeria
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonisation. Emigration and immigration. International migration > JV0001 Colonies and colonisation > JV0061 History
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2015 11:09
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2017 06:07
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/54206

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