Moroccan writer Mustafa Laghtiri: The novel is a modern, democratic art that dates to the margins… This is how “Aisha the Saint” was narrated

White House – Mustafa Laghtiri is one of the most prolific Moroccan writers in the production of the novel. In addition to his extensive media presence, he works in a harmonious and differentiated manner that reflects the nature of his literary writings and their distribution within multiple topics, so that these writings almost do not leave Moroccan geography, because they are occupied with their problems, issues and history in a way that the head of the salon experiments with. Moroccan literary methods of the door of narration from a variety of aspects.

Although this style distinguishes him from others and always leads him to discover deserted areas within Moroccan society, the novelist experimentation of Ghutiiri does not stop at the limits of the aesthetics of form and the game of storytelling, but rather delves into the catacombs of his themes. By telling the story of the protagonist of the novel with all its beauty, horror, fascination and ghost.

Hence, the writer’s use of myth comes only to break the intensity of realism and exaggerate it, on the background that the fictional work is always legitimized in the face of templates, forms and themes in a way that the reader does not pay attention to, which gives the first impression of the symbolism of the hidden mythical worlds and the extent of their control over the fabric of social life within Moroccan society and its ability to influence the imagination of the contemporary individual despite the manifestations of intellectual and technical modernity.

To talk about the worlds of writing and its aesthetics with the novelist Mustafa Laghtiri, Al Jazeera Net met the writer, and she had this dialogue with him..

  • Mustafa Laghtiri, what does the genre of the novel represent to you now, after authoring more than 15 novels that enriched the Moroccan literary library?

I can say with a lot of confidence that the novel for me is a narrative code that reflects society in all its details, in which the past overlaps with the present, heritage with modernity, invocation with foresight, a comprehensive overview with minute details, a culture that is aware of popular culture, it constitutes a mosaic of a nation and people, the novel tries hard to chronicle To the margin, to the silent and the unthinking, it gives a voice to the voiceless, and it forms the features of faces that the dominant force – whether political, social or religious – has desired to ignore.

I consider the novel to be a modern art par excellence, because it contributes to the destruction of idols and borders, makes races contiguous within it, allows for a plurality of voices and visions, and achieves a kind of democracy within its lines.

This is how the novel comes to present these faces with much glamor and celebration, and it may become an icon or symbols that compete, but rather overcome what official history wants to devote, so I personally consider it a modernist art par excellence, because it contributes to the destruction of idols and borders, and makes the races contiguous within it, and allows a plurality of voices and visions, and achieve a kind of democracy within its lines.

  • Do you think that there is a fictional writing with Moroccan peculiarities that was inspired by the Moroccan heritage and worked on adapting it literary as you did in your novel “Aisha the Saint”?

Although deciding on this matter remains difficult, and it is certainly hard work that critics and scholars must do, but from a very personal point of view, I can claim that Moroccan fiction writing has a kind of privacy that it acquires from several tributaries, including folklore and the world. Traditional Moroccan cultural figures This novel can only give its character and privacy.

The novel “Aisha the Saint” deals with a story that ranges from a historical woman who resists the occupation and a fairy whose story is inherited from generations (Al-Jazeera)

This is what I tried to do in the novel “Aisha the Saint”, a novel in which she employed a fairy character that is popular in popular circles, and the matter is related to “Aisha Qandisha”, and the same is true for the novel “The Lost Atlantic” as well, in which I approached the character of a Moroccan mystic who has a great reputation among circles. The Moroccan people, their influence has continued since the 12th century until today, but it is unfortunately unknown in the Arab Mashreq.

  • But in view of your novelist experience, how did you come and form the features of folklore and its use within the fictional text?

There is no doubt that literature in one of its manifestations constitutes a symbolic capital that people cherish and that nations pride themselves on each other.

Writers are obliged to search for these cultural treasures and use them in their texts, as they undoubtedly give the novelistic text an unquestionable added value. This is in addition to enriching the semantic dimension and giving it an interpretive depth, which makes it amenable to multiple reading, regardless of the different times and places.

For this, it was necessary for the writers to search for these cultural treasures and use them in their texts, as they undoubtedly give the narrative text an unquestionable added value. , employs it as a plot for storytelling, in addition to enriching the semantic dimension and giving it an interpretive depth, which makes it amenable to multiple reading regardless of the different times and places, and that for my age is one of the characteristics of the success of the literary text in general.

The novel “Men and Dogs” discusses mental illness, obsessions and delusions, and was published by the Literature Gallery publications in 2020 (Al-Jazeera)
  • Despite the sweeping victory of the Moroccan novel with Arab prizes, this literary genre is still witnessing a kind of fragility within Morocco compared to other African works. What are the aesthetic features that you draw for the Moroccan novel since the nineties until today?

Of course, the status of literature in general – and the novel in particular – can only be judged by the general context to which it belongs, and we know our general cultural situation, which still suffers from a lot of hesitation, as well as the spread of illiteracy and the inability of cultural institutions to keep pace with the growing creative impetus. Also, the Arabic language still suffers from a kind of siege and limitation. How many writers of average talent who wrote in English or French have found celebration and spread, and how many talented writers who wrote in Arabic have their creativity confined to a narrow corner!

An Arab writer cannot covet an international award without obtaining a translation, and this translation remains frankly a stroke of luck, and is governed primarily by social relations.

It goes without saying that an Arab writer cannot covet an international award without obtaining a translation, and this translation remains frankly a stroke of luck, and is governed primarily by social relations.

  • In your novel “Men and Dogs” you give great importance to psychological analysis in the formulation of the novelist’s character. Do you think that the Arab reader is qualified with his knowledge and armed with his tools to analyze a text that tends towards intellectual experimentation?

In the novel “Men and Dogs”, I tried to employ the technique of psychoanalysis through free repercussions by opening a direct dialogue with the reader in order to involve him in analyzing the character affected by OCD, and of course it does not require its reader to be familiar with all psychoanalytic techniques, but it tries to open his eyes to A culture of psychology, and directing it to the great potential of this fertile field.

Perhaps the greatest goal of all of this is to convince the reader that our psychological problems and social dilemmas result from our actions as individuals and groups, and that they are solvable if we deal with them rationally through psychoanalysis or other scientific fields, away from superstitious dealing. Raising awareness through fiction writing.

  • In “The Lost Atlantic”, I touched on the subject of Sufism for the first time, and this is not new to the Arab novel, as there are Arab and Western works that have imagined the mystical text.

I think that what is new in the matter – at least Moroccan – is to work on a popular Sufi personality, and Moroccan par excellence, as most of the Arabic and Moroccan texts worked on well-known personalities in Sufi circles with their global tendency, and they have well-known intellectual productions such as Al-Hallaj and Ibn Arabi, for example, while Abu Yazi Al-Haskuri is considered -who I employed in the novel “The Lost Atlantic”- is a popular character to the extreme, and this is what made me pay attention to him since I read some simple lines about him. Moulay Bouazza,” and attributed to him unlimited dignity.

She is a character from the cultural and social margins, and from my personal perspective, she certainly deserves attention, and this is what I tried to do in the novel.

The novel “The Lost Atlantic” travels between the cities and wilds of Morocco and follows the Sufis and their journeys (Al-Jazeera)
  • What about its relationship to fictional fiction? And how did you realize its importance and the imaginary horizons it could open for the Moroccan novel?

Imagination is the depth of fiction writing, and imagination is the writer’s capital, and I think that I have tried to present a number of diverse novels that are characterized by an irrefutable imaginative dimension. Even the most prominent of them often have their novel texts echo their real lives, but things have changed and Moroccan fiction texts have become in the recent period more attached to the imagination than the life of their writers, and this is evident in many of the novelistic texts.

  • To what extent can we talk about a Moroccan critical movement that touched the novel and thought about its contents?

Talking about criticism is a fraught talk, as it is said, which of course has its pros and cons. Criticism and critics are multiple and different, and it cannot be put in one box, and its directions are multiple, but it can be said that it has developed tangibly and has become strongly present in the Moroccan literary scene for a while not It is short, but it is noticeably Arab, and there are names that have become landmarks in the history of Arab criticism, even if its interest in the Eastern text is more than its preoccupation with the Moroccan text.

However, we can be proud of the academic criticism that has directed its compass towards Moroccan fiction texts in recent decades, especially at the level of university research, and this is a good thing, and will undoubtedly contribute to introducing the Moroccan novel to students who are certainly future professors, and who will introduce the Moroccan novel in among the pupils.

This is what I hope at least, because the school is the real nursery for the love of literature in general and the novel in particular, and allow me to take advantage of this opportunity to call on the Ministry of National Education to make an effort to introduce the Moroccan novel in the courses and through seminars and host writers, and report some novels periodically and regionally to students Educational institutions.

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