Colonial discourse in Eugene Fromentin’s Algerian travelogues

Abstract: 

The article discusses the appropriateness of postcolonial criticism with respect to Eugene Fromentin's Algerian travelogues (“Un été dans le Sahara”, 1854, and “Une année dans le Sahel”,1858). Eugene Fromentin was a famous oriental artist. Also, he became a well-known author after the publication of his three Algerian travelogues. Art critics found it difficult to define the genre of the Algerian travelogues as they combined painterly and literary approaches to the representation of reality. They combined a soulful style and artistic vision having very few direct statements on the topic of the day and practically no social issues. Their ethnographic realities are sometimes of figurative nature and could be invented by the author. Fromentin adheres to the most impassive approach to the representation of reality. Besides the stream of impressions experienced by the main character, the travelogues include the author’s reflections about the artistic vision of the surrounding reality. Thus, the main significance of the Algerian travelogues is their intermediality, which was an absolutely new phenomenon for the middle of the 19th century. These works had no analogues of this kind, due to their special style and an inimitable author's manner. Political and social realities are of secondary importance, creating a backdrop for the narrative.

Key words: 

postcolonial criticism, French colonialism, Orientalism, painterly approach, synthesis of arts.

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