What is Moroccan literature, where and when does it happen, and in what languages? In this essay, we tackle these questions by tracing the evolution of the definition of “Moroccan literature” from the first half of the twentieth century until the present. The earliest works of Moroccan literary historiography, such as Abd Allah Kannūn’s al-Nubūgh al-maghribī fī al-adab al-arabī (1937), situated Moroccan literature within the Arabic literary tradition and treated Moroccan literature as an important element in the “Arab-Islamic” identity promoted by the Moroccan nationalist movement. Since Moroccan independence in 1956, this definition of Moroccan literature has come under increasing pressure, as the languages and imaginative geographies of Moroccan literature have expanded to include new voices. In what follows, we consider these debates through a survey of a diverse corpus of literary-historical works that throw into question the linguistic, temporal, and spatial borders of Moroccan literature (and of Morocco itself).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-123
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Arabic Literature
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Amazigh
  • Diasporic literature
  • Dārijah
  • Francophone literature
  • Literary history
  • Morocco
  • Nationalism
  • World literature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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