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Literature 2019

Dr. Bensalem Himmich


Born in Meknes, Morocco, in 1945, Bensalem Himmich is a novelist, poet, essayist, professor of philosophy, and a former Minister of Culture for Morocco.

With a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Paris, and writing in both Arabic and French, a number of his works have been translated into several other languages. The Egyptian Writers’ Union selected his novel Majnoun Al-Hukm (The Theocrat) as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th Century, and another novel, Mu’adhdhibati (My Torturess), was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Himmich received the grand award of the French Academy of Toulouse in 2011.

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”.

Published: 2018

Interview with

Dr. Bensalem Himmich

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