Jean el Mouhouve Amrouche

Amrouche, Jean el Mouhouve


Born Feb. 7, 1906, in Djidjelli, Kabylie; died Apr. 16, 1962, in Paris. Algerian writer; founder of Algerian literature in French.

Amrouche lived abroad since his childhood—first in Tunis and then in Paris. He was brought up in the Catholic faith, which he subjected to doubt in his mature years in the spirit of R. Descartes. He was attracted by French poetry—for instance, the anthology The Thought of P. de La Tour du Pin (1934)—but subordinated his own creativity to themes which expressed his personal suffering: separation from his ancestors’ home (the book of verses Dust, 1934) and overcoming his alienation from the fate of his homeland (the romantic narrative poem Innermost Star, 1937). His collections and critiques of folklore heritage (Berber Songs of Kabylie, 1939) led Amrouche to fuse popular art with a knowledge of world literature in his epic tale Immortal Jugurtha (1946). Amrouche’s civic poetry expressed the hopes of his insurgent homeland—for example, the narrative poems Algerian Battle and Sketch of a Military Song (1958, published posthumously, 1962).


“La France comme mythe et comme réalité.” Le Monde, Jan. 11, 1958.
Rhapsodie sur le seuil. In H. Kréa, La Révolution et la poésie. . .. Paris, 1960.
Anthologie des écrivains Maghrébins d’expression française. Paris, 1965.


“Hommages à Jean Amrouche.” Présence africaine, 1963, no. 46.
Bibliographie de la littérature nord-africaine d’expression française. Compiled by J. Arnaud [et al.]. Paris-The Hague, [1965].