About The Book
Bensalem Himmich’s book (The Self - Between Existence and Creation) published by al-Markaz al-Thaqafi lil-Kitab, Morocco, 2018, is far more than the straightforward autobiography its title seems to suggest; instead it diffuses the author’s life into its literary, intellectual, linguistic, and cultural dimensions. It opens with a discussion on autobiographical writing per se, citing earlier examples, in Arabic and other languages, and reflects on the genre’s problematics. The first chapter recounts the author’s life. Subsequent chapters move mainly into the domain of creation, with four categories reflecting the author’s many interests and concerns: literary, intellectual, linguistic, and cultural. The penultimate chapter, “My Polemics” opens with a survey of intellectual controversies in Islamic history, before offering four of his own polemical stands. In the last chapter the author reflects on the emergence of a new and negative kind of cultural “hegemony”.