Date of Completion


Embargo Period



mythological bricolage histoire algerienne

Major Advisor

Lucy S. McNeece

Associate Advisor

Eliane DalMolin

Associate Advisor

Roger Celestin

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Mythological Rewriting: New Perspectives on Algeria’s Postcolonial History.

Elena Telegina, Ph.D

University of Connecticut [2014]


Algerian history, falsified and distorted by different Algerian regimes, obscured the nature of many contemporary problems, while creating a climate of confusion about the present and anxiety about the future. Beneath Algeria’s relative calm during the uprisings of the “Arab Spring”, violence and social dissociation, continue to threaten the society, showing that deep-seated historical conflicts in Algeria remain unsolved.

While historians and political scientists attempt to clarify the contemporary situation from a scientific perspective, Francophone Algerian novelists have addressed these issues by drawing on mythological paradigms. Through the rewriting of Greco-Latin, Judo- Christian and Islamic mythology, they attempt to provide an alternative point of view on the nature of contemporary social and political conflicts and to uncover hidden facts of the past that have had an impact on today’s situation. However, during the process of rewriting in a new historical and cultural environment, the structure and meaning of myth is transformed dramatically. These transformations increase, on one hand, the semantic uncertainty of a text by transcending clear-cut distinctions between concepts. On the other hand, they put into question well-established truths, thus allowing novelists to raise new themes tormenting Algerian society today. The question asked by this study concerns the relationship between the process of mythological transformation in Algerian writing and the new representations which emerge of Algerian history and its Mythological contemporary reality.

The main hypothesis of this research is that the transformation of myth is due to the fusion in the literary text with other narrative elements, such as popular beliefs, cults, legends and rites. The interaction of sometime contradictory systems of value provided by these elements increases the complexity of mythological structure and extends the interpretative potential of the myth, while infusing its symbols with new power.

Using the theory of bricolage, elaborated by Lévi-Strauss and taken up by R.Bastide and A.Mary, this study will examine the modes of transformation of myth in the novels of three Francophone Algerian authors, Rachid Mimouni, Malika Mokaddem and Mohamed

Dib. It will explore how the shift in the connotations of concepts such as “violence” and “the return to origins” allows the authors to raise taboo questions and reverse the official version of Algerian history.