Ritual fictions: The enigma made flesh in the novels of Tahar Ben Jelloun
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Tahar Ben Jelloun is a Moroccan poet and novelist who is presently active and writing in French. This thesis deals primarily with the novelistic works of the author, examining the way in which he uses rituals as a narrative device or as a theme, and how they can be seen to reflect on other salient features of his writing. Ritual is examined as a metaphor whose incorporation into a novel can paradoxically implicate the reader and the author in the work, in the same way that ritual in life may implicate the participants in a myth. The implications of this interpretation are manifold in Ben Jelloun's work, and this thesis examines these under several broad themes, including those of meaning, enigma, freedom and the body. The thesis argues that Ben Jelloun's use of ritual reinforces his strategy of subversion and manipulation as key elements in the generative process.