The subversion of the gaze
Shérazade and other women in the work of Leïla Sebbar
in Women’s writing in contemporary France

Of mixed Franco-Algerian parentage, Leïla Sebbar spans a variety of genres in her writing, including short stories, journalism, essays, children's writing and contributions to collaborative works, including collections of visual material. Images constitute a rich thematic seam running through all of Sebbar's books, where they feature in different ways. They may be official markers, for identification purposes, as with the hostages in Le Fou de Shérazade. Sebbar often uses the unmediated gaze to convey something about a particular moment in a personal relationship. Her recent work, such as Soldats, is marked by a preoccupation with war and the images are used to represent conflicts, wherever they may be. The subversion of the gaze is just one stage in the process of self-determination, but none the less a crucial part of Sebbar's complicated textual universe.

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Women’s writing in contemporary France

New writers, new literatures in the 1990s

Editors: Gill Rye and Michael Worton

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