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Feraoun's Faithful Friend: Colonial Education and the World of Literature
Tue 28 March 2017, 16:00 – 17:00 BST
Annual Charles Bonnier French Studies Lecture by Prof. Nicholas Harrison (King’s College London)
Best known for his novel Le Fils du pauvre (1950), Mouloud Feraoun is still widely read and studied in Algeria and the French-speaking world. But he is sometimes dismissed as an ‘assimilated’ figure, not least because he continued to work as a teacher in the French colonial system throughout the Algerian war of independence. This decision placed his life at risk both from Algerian nationalists and from the French/colon Right. In its way, then, his commitment to education was heroic; yet this was a paradoxical heroism, at once political and apolitical, tainted then as now by his association with colonialism. This lecture will assume no prior knowledge of Feraoun's work; it will draw on his moving Journal (1962) and on L’Ami fidèle (1960-3), a forgotten but intriguing series of textbooks he wrote for Algerian schools, to try to understand the choices he made, as writer and teacher, and the lessons we can learn from them today.