Born Aug. 6, 1929, in Constantine. Algerian writer. Son of a lawyer.
Kateb was one of the first Algerian writers to employ the French language as a means for creating an Algerian national literature, for example, the lyric cycle Conversation With Myself (1946) and the narrative poem Nedjma (1948). In the drama The Corpse in the Ring (1954–55), the novel Nedjma (1956), and the lyric work Dance in the Light of a Bonfire (1961; Russian translation, 1962) he employs symbolism of magic and tribal myths. Combining folklore and realism, Kateb ridicules feudalism in the comedy The Powder of Reason (1959) and colonialism in the comedy The Lute and the Suitcase (1963). Kateb’s recurrent themes, the awakening of the individual and the revolutionary activity of the Algerian people, merge in the symbolic character of Nedjma (the tragedy The Savage Woman, 1962). His predilection for surrealism, however, sometimes prevents him from fully developing these themes, as in the novel Starry Firing Field (1966). Kateb was awarded the Amrouche Prize in 1963.
WORKSL’Homme aux sandales de caoutchouc. Paris, 1970.
REFERENCEDejeux, J. “Bibliographie de la littérature algérienne d’expression fran-çaise,” 1962–1967. Cahiers algériens de littérature comparée, 1967, no.2.
V. P. BALASHOV