The Orchestration of the Arts in Leïla Sebbar’s Shérazade, 17 Ans, Brune, Frisée, Les Yeux Verts

Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 63)


The arts play a pivotal role in Leïla Sebbar’s Shérazade. Painting, music, literature and cinema are woven into the plot and their interrelationships hold the key to possible interpretations of the novel; its complexity lies in the author’s intermingling of both high and low culture. I will briefly distinguish between the two types of culture mentioned: high culture / aesthetics, and low or pop culture. “High culture texts [and art] are valued for their ability to transcend their immediate and therefore limiting social conditions. They are thus moved toward the universal and their values are claimed to be those of humanity rather than those of historically and socially situated human beings ... . Popular culture is the culture of the here and now, not of the always and forever” (Fiske 334). It has also been tagged the culture of the masses or that especially of the younger generations. Its popularity belongs to a specific period and is often “damnatio memoriae.” However, the allusion to both types of art and culture creates a sense of reality and immerses the reader in the place and time frame of the novel, i.e., Paris of the late 1970’s to early 1980’s.


Bare Breast Delinquent Friend Guardian Angel Ottoman Empire Turkish Bath 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityUSA

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