Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation

Exil et identité dans l'oeuvre de Naïm Kattan

Abstract : Atypical course, extraordinary life in the primary sense of the term, this is how we could describe the life of this Canadian writer who is known in France for his novel Adieu Babylone. This autobiographical book written in 1975 traces the youth of this boy born in Baghdad in 1928 and who will grow up to become a young man proud of his country, his origins, his language.Lover of words and literature, the Arabic one as well as the Western one (and especially the French literature). After getting a scholarship to study in France from 1947 to 1951, he decided not to return to his native Orient or to the young state of Israel where his family settled down. He headed to Canada in 1954 to settle there definitively. Prolific author, little known to the French public, Naïm Kattan is the author of forty books: novels, news, as well as essays. He has also written plays. A well-known and recognized author, especially in Canada, his country of adoption and heart, he is distinguished several times by his peers. His literary career and his rise in the "social ladder" of the literary circle of his adopted country, as well as his work for the valorization of Canadian letters, whether French or English, show his true love of words, of literature.He is a real advocate of the verb and letters, because he has a special relationship with the word, a relation that is close to the "sacredness". A particular relationship that he owes to his culture, his origins, his link with religion. The first books of his oeuvre I have read showed me the incredible modernity of the topics he talks about. Many of them deal with "hot topics”, both in France and in the world: exile, identity, power of the language, the relation with the Other ... Naïm Kattan is, in a way, a sociologist writer, a behaviorist as he approaches the human being from different angles, in his relations, his behavior with others, his relation to daily life, to the world. I could have also noticed something very special in his way of writing: he uses the concept of duality in a way we can qualify as “obsessive”. His life itself is imbued with this duality: he chose to live (consciously or not) in a country crossed by the duality French native speakers / English native speakers. Duality in form (duality of the characters, relationship with the other, relationship between the masculine and the feminine, East / West relationship ...), but also duality in the background (structure of some of his books, chapter’s structure, alternative past / present ...) which comes back regularly.How to understand this extreme obsession to put forward duality? What is hiding behind this duality regularly used by the author? Naïm Kattan wants to gather people, build a bridge between people whatever their origins, religions, cultures. He does not care of the differences and tries to show that they are not a handicap to happiness but rather an asset, a wealth. The central core of this thesis will be based on all the novels and short stories of Naïm Kattan's work. I will try to analyze the two central themes that are exile and identity to answer this issue: how does Naïm Kattan, with his status of exile, perceive, through his experience, through the experience of other people close to him or not, the phenomenon of exile? What are the psychic and physical consequences to new external influences, which are mostly aggressive due to the physical and cultural uprooting (new environment, new language, new culture ...)? What are the different "solutions", the different attitudes towards this situation which, through globalization and increased interconnection between different societies, is becoming a common phenomenon?
Document type :
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [432 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Abes Star :  Contact
Submitted on : Monday, March 9, 2020 - 11:07:09 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 24, 2021 - 3:04:03 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 2:04:07 PM


Version validated by the jury (STAR)


  • HAL Id : tel-02502358, version 1



Eric Hocquette. Exil et identité dans l'oeuvre de Naïm Kattan. Littératures. Université de Lille, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019LILUH038⟩. ⟨tel-02502358⟩



Record views


Files downloads