Picturing the Interzone

Tangier in P. Bowles' Let It Come Down
and A. Majid’s
Si Yussef

In both Paul Bowles’ Let It Come Down and Anouar Majid’s Si Yussef, Tangier figures as the main setting and the basic stage on which nearly all the events are dramatized. In both novels, this city is further portrayed and ‘celebrated’ in such a way that it appears as a protagonist in its own right. But while Bowles’ portrait of Tangier is obviously tainted with the hegemonic ideology of his Western culture, Majid’s portrayal tends to be rather postcolonial and anti-hegemonic. The chief aim of this paper consists in drawing a brief comparison between these opposite discursive representations by an American who was living in Tangier and a Tanjawi who is still living in America.

If we start with Bowles’ Let It Come Down, we can say straightway that in spite of the remarkable ambivalence of this novel’s discourse, its representation of the city of Tangier hardly deviates from the ideological structures and the discursive tropes and strategies that generally characterize traditional Orientalist writings. To support this central idea, it may be worth illustrating first how Tangier is depicted throughout as an Oriental and ‘other’ space that can be easily appropriated and exploited by Bowles’ Western protagonists. Then we shall look at the ideology inherent in this American writer’s imaginative recreation of the ‘International Zone’ in the form of a realistic picture or document so that he could celebrate and wishfully perpetuate the peculiar image of that bygone colonial period.

From the beginning of Bowles’ novel, one can see clearly how Tangier is conceived of in terms of the large distinction between the Oriental world and its Occidental counterpart. This significant division can be in fact perceived through the protagonist’s—Nelson Dyar’s—travel from New York to Tangier. Dyar has of course planned and wished that this symbolic journey from the West to the East will save him from his deep feelings of anxiety, boredom and vast existential emptiness which, he thinks, are engendered by the sophisticated and over-civilized quality of life in his American metropolitan milieu. That is why he has abandoned for good his ‘cage’ or job as a clerk in a New York bank and has come to Tangier in quest for some ‘other’ and simpler mode of existence as well as for therapeutic regeneration in the Orient’s ‘natural’ and exotic universe. In this respect, Dyar’s experience is quite analogous to that of the protagonist of Bowles’ first novel The Sheltering Sky—namely Port Moresby, whose complaint about what he sees as “the mechanized age”[1] of his Western civilization prompts him to seek for a restorative alternative in the North African primeval Sahara.

Yet, instead of a simple and serene life, Dyar has found in Tangier only another cage and more complex and corruptive human relationships. For this city has lost much of its pre-colonial innocence, especially after its transformation into an ‘International Zone’. It has been prostituted, metaphorically speaking,[2] because in addition to its being the object of greedy imperial desire and appropriation by nearly a dozen Western countries, this so-called ‘International Zone’ used to serve also as a private colony of limitless freedom and “a sanctuary of non-interference” [3] for any Western individual. This means that Tangier could be colonized and exploited not only by imperial nations but also by Western individuals—these latter who could come there to indulge in such practices as homosexuality, drug-taking, espionage and illicit transactions. As a matter of fact, Bowles’ novel itself provides a vivid portrayal of that atmosphere of moral decadence and socio-political corruption in which Dyar himself soon gets enmeshed. Indeed, no sooner has this protagonist set foot in the Interzone than Daisy de Valverde tries to prepare him for its crazy mode of life, promising that he too will certainly appreciate it:

"…how do you like our little International Zone?” [asked Daisy] “Well, I haven’t seen anything of it yet...” “Of course. You just came today, didn’t you? My dear, you’ve got so much ahead of you! So much ahead of you! You can’t know. But you’ll love it, that I promise you. It’s a madhouse, of course. A complete, utter madhouse. I only hope to God it remains one.” “You like it a lot?” he was beginning to feel the drinks. “Adore it”, she said, leaning toward him. “Absolutely worship the place.”[4]

While this passage hints generally at how the Western residents of Tangier take pride in living there and derive great pleasure and satisfaction from its unusual form of life, Daisy’s use of the possessive ‘our’ in her reference to the Interzone is highly suggestive of how this space has been appropriated and ‘colonized’ not only formally by states but by individuals as well. Such appropriative discursive pronoun—just like the appellation ‘International Zone’ itself—has the symbolic effect of denying the city of Tangier all sense of belonging to Morocco’s geography and cultural identity; it ideologically serves to map out this city as a mere ‘blank space’ or uncharted romantic island which is unproblematically fitted for the personal fantastic pleasure, as well as the geo-political interests, of its foreign occupants.

Parallel with this idea of a colonized Tangier is the image of its Moroccan natives as helpless subjects who are either marginalized or exploited by their colonizers. In Bowles’ novel, one can easily notice that except for a couple of Moroccans, the natives’ presence is hardly felt on account of their systematic seclusion or marginalization within the old Arab medina. It might be true that these natives have willingly chosen not to get in contact with those foreigners because, as one of them has bluntly put it, “only bad things can happen when Nazarenes and Moslems come together.”[5] All the same, such apartheid condition within the same city crystallizes the basic cultural difference between the Western colonizers and their dominated Others. As a matter of fact, even in the case of Thami and Hadija—the two Tanjawis with a lot of contacts with those Westerners—one can see clearly how they are both regarded as Others, and thus as exploitable subjects. For instance, Thami is exploited by Dyar when this latter sends him in a risky mission to smuggle his stolen money into the Spanish Zone. At the end, this Moroccan is even gratuitously murdered by his American ‘friend’, who has been under the effect of too much kif and majoun. As for Hadija, she too is exploited not only by Madame Papaconstante, who employs her as a prostitute in her Bar Lucifer, but also by Eunice Goode, who wants to appropriate her totally for the sake of satisfying her deviant lesbian desires. Later on, Dyar himself attempts to exploit her sexually after being attracted by her youth and beauty. In this sense, the native Hadija can be considered as an apt symbol of the prostituted Tangier.

Bowles’ representation of Tangier and its natives is particularly ideological and Orientalist because in spite of the striking eccentricity and decadence of that international colonial era, he undoubtedly looks at it nostalgically as a good and golden period in the city’s history. Indeed, he himself was in practice one of the Western expatriates who used to indulge in the boundless freedom of the interzone and its pleasurable anarchic life.[6] Daisy seems to express Bowles’ own vision when she says, as already quoted, that Tangier is an adorable “utter madhouse. I only hope to God it remains one.” For it was actually his wish that Tangier could never evolve from its colonial era to the post-independence one. But as this wish could not materialize, he felt the need at least to celebrate that era and to commemorate it by writing Let It Come Down, as it might be understood from its introduction in which he states that the book

was first published early in 1952, at the very moment of the riots which presaged the end of the International Zone of Morocco. Thus even at the time of publication the book already treated a bygone era, for Tangier was never the same after the 30th of March 1952. The city celebrated in these pages has long ago ceased to exist, and the events recounted in them would now be inconceivable. Like a photograph, the tale is a document relating to a specific place at a given point in time, illumined by the light of that particular moment.[7]

The writer’s use here of the words ‘photograph’ and ‘document’ is greatly important for the discussion of the Orientalist ideology inherent in his picturing of the Interzone. For if we examine these terms in the light of Edward Said’s notion that Orientalism is “a form of radical realism’ that maps out a sort of “imaginative geography” so as to subjugate the West’s cultural Others,[8] we cannot but conclude that Bowles’ novel is by no means immune from the ‘twin’ realistic/Orientalist ideology.

In this connection, it should be pointed out that even though Bowles’ representation is heavily realistic, it remains basically imaginary[9] and it doubtlessly partakes of that ‘imaginative geography’ that has traditionally served to keep the Orient under the West’s hegemonic dominance. The amount of realism in Bowles’ novel can be glimpsed from the above extract from its introduction where there is a clear focus on “solidity of specification”[10] through the reference to a real place and a real time: “Tangier”, “March 1952”, “the end of the International Zone of Morocco.” Such realistic evocation of geography and history certainly permits the author to create an aura of vraisemblance and a sense of objectivity and authenticity that ideologically prepare the reader from the very beginning to presume the ‘factuality’ of the ensuing story. Furthermore, as if intent on investing his story with as much sense of realism and credibility as possible, Bowles likens it to “a photograph” or “a document” that is closely related with the reality of the Interzone. In fact, both words are suggestive of factuality and objective reportage because just as a photograph is assumed to capture a given external object or spectacle in the image in which it appears to exist objectively, a document or documentary report is also usually thought to be something authentic and closely related to verifiable facts or evidence.

Nevertheless, it must be stressed here that such things as a photograph, a document or a novel itself are at bottom no more than cultural texts and ideological representational products. They are all sheer discursive practices that create the world they speak about rather than being authentic representations or passive linguistic transcriptions of it. In other words, all such cultural products are mere “texts within discourses of power”, and what they usually reflect “is not given, objective reality... but an epistemological field constructed as much linguistically as visually.” [11]

Indeed, the very presence of the observer or viewer who determines what is to be ‘documented’, ‘photographed’ or ‘reported’—that is to say, what is to be included in or excluded from the representation—rules out the possibility of any objective or neutral reportage; for the latter then instantly becomes a sort of interpretation or cultural text, in which both the language and the eye (or rather the ‘I’ and subjectivity) of the representer/interpreter plays a decisive discursive role.[12] With reference to Bowles’ introductory passage quoted above, one might raise such questions as: Why did he choose exactly the ‘bygone era’ of the ‘International Zone’ rather than any other period or other place? Then why did he want to ‘celebrate’ this era instead of criticizing it or condemning it, for instance? Is not his desire to devote a whole novel to the eulogy and commemoration of the ‘International Zone’ tantamount to an avowed regret for the passing off of that notorious colonial order?

At any rate, Bowles’ intention to produce a commemorative picture or photograph about that queer era bespeaks his nostalgic desire to perpetuate it by means of his work of art. Such discursive practice amounts to mythologizing that specific period of history and attests obliquely to his adherence and affiliation to the Western Orientalist tradition—a tradition wherein the Orient is conceptualized in terms of an ‘imaginative geography’ which systematically constitutes it as a cultural Other that can be subjected to the West’s hegemonic dominance and colonial appropriation.

If Bowles’ portrayal of Tangier in Let It Come Down thus boils down to a fixed mythological and Orientalist picture that celebrates a “bygone [colonial] era”, Anouar Majid’s representation of the same city in Si Yussef is almost in complete antithesis to it. For instead of the myth of a glorious ‘internationalized’ Tangier whose image or identity “becomes vitrified [and frozen] into an eternal reference meant to establish [and commemorate Western] imperiality,”[13] Majid attempts rather to demythologize and subvert such hegemonic and Orientalist compartmentalization of his native city. He does so chiefly by showing the Interzone as an ambivalent interstitial space—a third space where all identities get hybridized and all essentialist dichotomies become problematically uncertain

But before supporting and illustrating this view, it should be first mentioned that in Bowles’ novel too there are some instances of deep ambivalence that might be regarded as being expressive of Tangier’s third space conditions. But, insofar as this novel is concerned these are rather revealing instances that significantly problematize and undermine Bowles’ underlying Orientalist discourse from within itself. For instance, when Dyar comes to Tangier in quest for a change, he soon realizes that he has just changed his cage in New York by a new one in this Oriental city. Dasy has even explained to him that “Tangier is more New York than New York.”[14] This reveals how much the essentialist distinction between the East and the West is illusory and a mere discursive construct.

Another example of such subversive blurring of distinctions between the two worlds can be found at the end of the novel where we see that it is Dyar, the Westerner, who murders his Moroccan companion Thami, and not the opposite. For, according to Orientalist prejudices, it is always the Orientals who are savage, brutal and untrustworthy. Dyar himself has given voice to such a deep-seated stereotype when he suspiciously thinks of Thami as “an Arab” on whose face he can discern “the very essence of Oriental deviousness and cunning.”[15] The word ‘Oriental’ in this quotation underscores the whole underlying Orientalist ideology in Bowles’ novel; but Dyar’s criminal act of killing the sleeping Thami by driving a big nail into his ear undermines quite profoundly the pre-established assumptions of this ideology. Hence the key notion that the novel’s Orientalism is unwittingly subverted and interrogated from within its proper discourse.

Conversely, in Majid’s Si Yussef, the act of critical subversion is a technique or strategy that is intentionally adopted by the author himself. This means that the text is consciously designed to interrogate some apparently settled hegemonic assumptions and to foreground the uncertainty and the constant flux of all identities in such an interstitial space as the Interzone. Tangier and its history—both past and present—are not dealt with in such a close realistic fashion that seeks to present a neat picture or homogeneous discursive document as is the case with Bowles’ novel. Majid rather makes use of a number of deconstructive techniques and a variety of heterogeneous discourses that range from the realistic to the magical and mythical ones. A brief look at these various discourses and narrative strategies will help to shed light on how Majid’s portrayal of the Interzone is significantly different from that of Paul Bowles.

Though there is a considerable amount of realism in Si Yussef, this realism is strategically ‘abused’ by the writer’s use of deconstructive devices and subversive elements like magic realism, myth and legend. In the fashion of postmodernist writers Majid attempts in effect to both ‘use’ and ‘abuse’ the conventions of realistic novelistic discourse[16] in an attempt to render the complex reality of Tangier’s “contact zone”[17] and to problematize some facile or biased hegemonic constructions of this Interzone. Accordingly, Si Yussef can be generally classified as a postcolonial novel owing to its tacit resisting spirit and its subversive evocation and treatment of issues pertaining to both a place and a history that are replete with socio-political significance and cross-cultural complexities.

Among the diverse clashing layers of discourse in Majid’s novel, the realistic discourse is obviously the dominant one. From the opening pages, the reader can in fact notice how the narrative starts quite realistically as the space of Tangier is evoked through Lamin’s description of his first meeting with Si Yussef in Ashab’s café. This café might be just imaginary, but its centrality in the novel suggests that it is meant to function as a symbolic site from which the reader is made to see many aspects of Tangier’s reality. In fact, from the activities and speeches of the different people who come there one can form a good idea about the way of life of many Tanjawis and their cross-cultural relations with the visitors of their cosmopolitan city. One can also get a glimpse at the secret geography of this Interzone through the hints at the activities of its smugglers, spies, prostitutes and so forth.

But the most important source of information about Tangier in Majid’s novel is Si Yussef himself. This seventy-seven-year old protagonist is a Tanjawi, who mysteriously feels a certain compulsion to tell his long story to Lamin, the young Tanjawi narrator. So during twelve meetings in Ashab’s café, this old man divulges a series of confessions and memories which have to do not only with his own life-story but also with the history of his native city. Indeed, when he speaks about his experiences as a tourist guide or as a worker in a Frenchman’s factory in Tangier or about his happy marriage with the Spanish Lucia, one can see a lot of features that characterize Tangier’s cosmopolitan life. Some of his references tend to be closely historical as when he refers to the Sultan’s visit to Tangier in 1947 and the rise of the nationalist movement in this city:

We started demanding our independence. Men started burning the shops of the nassara, stabbing French and Spanish officers in the streets. We started hearing of stone-throwing in the Rif.…our dear sultan arrived in our town which he called a jewel, calling for national unity, and ah! what a feeling! my chest was pounding with joy and hope…[18]

Nevertheless, intersecting with such realistic details, that help to draw a seemingly true picture of Tangier, are a number of fantastic or mythical allusions which seriously challenge and destabilize that apparent aura of factuality and verisimilitude. A sense of mystery is in fact suggested since the first paragraph of the novel when, in the process of describing the atmosphere within and outside Ashab’s café, Lamin invokes the notion of ‘apocalypse’: “It had rained in Tangier all day, and, on that December afternoon, one had the impression that the apocalypse was finally at hand.”[19] Later on, this sense of fantasy is intensified by his reference to Hercules:

Days like this reminded me of the myth I always believed: Hercules, standing on top of the caves he carved after separating the continents of Europe and Africa, saying ‘Let the winds and the tempests blow forever on this land’….[20]

This invocation of the name is not quite irrelevant, as it might appear at first sight; for Tangier itself is associated with this mythical name, as the actual existence of the Cave of Hercules on its territory testifies. The myth has it in fact that Hercules did really play a central role in the existence of this strategic city when he separated Europe from Africa. Another myth has it that during the apocalyptic deluge the ship of Prophet Noah rested on the high mountain of Tangier; and from there he sent a pigeon to test the depth of water at the region. And when the pigeon soon returned with a lump of earth in its beak, Noah shouted happily: “Tin ja!”, and from this statement came the name of the city of ‘Tanja’ (in Arabic) or Tangier (in English).[21]

Majid makes allusion to the latter myth as well, first when he writes— perhaps ironically—that “Si Yussef reflected the power of a new Noah...”[22], and later when he speculates about the name of Tangier and notes that:

Noah landed on our shores… Tin ja! Tin ja! and the Romans and probably other nations calling it Tingis, and now, you know, Tanja, Tangier, Tanger, ta ta ta ta…[23]

These mythical references, however, do not mean that Majid is trying “to assert such myths of origin;”[24] on the contrary he seems to problematize and interrogate them, as his implicit ironic tone forcefully indicates. Instead of just reproducing the tales and myths that are associated with the name of Tangier, he obviously tries to put them to question and to subvert them discursively.

This subversive strategy becomes clearer when Si Yussef is made to speak about such magic or supernatural agents as the jinn, the affarit, Aicha Kandisha, and hajjouj and majjouj. These agents, he says, used to live somewhere there in Tangier, and he himself has been on the verge of being victimized by “Aicha Kandisha, the woman-goat who seduced more than a hundred fishermen at night.”[25] Paul Bowles himself was fond of this legendary woman, whom he conceived as a part of his exotic Oriental Tangier, or Morocco in general. But rather than using it as an exotic element in Si Yussef, Majid is apparently invoking all such supernatural beings and mythical names as a strategy that aims to shake and to unsettle some time-honoured local or Orientalist constructions.

“Magical realism”, says Brenda Cooper, “at its best opposes fundamentalism and purity; it is at odds with racism, ethnicity and the quest for tap roots, origins and homogeneity…”[26] Accordingly, one can say that Majid deploys some elements of this subversive narrative mode to contest or problematize all attempts to essentialize the reality of Tangier and its history by means of discourses that might be hegemonic, nationalistic or otherwise. So instead of creating a fixed, monolithic or mythological image of Tangier, he deliberately accentuates many features that display the instability, hybridity and heterogeneity of this “City-on-two-Seas.”[27] Such things as culture, identity, history and geography itself are all re-viewed from an interrogating postcolonial perspective that is quite at odds with the one from which Bowles has gazed at his ‘magic’ city. Thus Tangier is not seen as a simple geographical entity with a well-defined history and a homogeneous cultural identity; it is rather represented as “a place which is in continual process of being ‘written’,” a sort of “palimpsest... on which successive generations have inscribed and reinscribed history.”[28] Indeed, the writer’s reference to the diverse names of the city—i.e. Tingis, Tanja, Tanger and Tangier—is itself meant to suggest how its history has been created through ages by both natives and foreigners like the Romans, the French and the British. This history is shown to be a complex amalgam of myths, facts, legends, lies and personal views or memories like those of Si Yussef and Lamin.

But cannot the history voiced or narrated by Si Yussef be a mere “story after all. His story”?[29] Is it, in other words, a reliable history or a worthless fiction, or perhaps a mere “fantastic fabrication by a deluded young man”[30] —i.e. Lamin (or Anouar Majid himself, for that matter)? What about the other ‘histories’ and personal views expressed by other characters all along the narrative? Are they all part of that ongoing process of writing and re-creating Tangier? Then what about that picture of Tangier and the controversy it has aroused “about whether [it] was indeed a photograph of Tangier, or whether it was just another satanic deception”?[31] Does the author want to suggest that no photograph is able to capture authentically the reality of a city like Tangier, owing to the deceptive and discursive nature of such a representational medium, as well as the fluidity and complexity of that reality? Why is Lamin/Majid so doubtful about the very existence of his hometown that he states towards the end of his narrative that “Tangier was left behind; it was no more?”[32] Is geography itself “a lie” or fiction as history seems to be?

All the preceding questions point to the subversive and deconstructive strategy of Majid’s representation of Tangier in Si Yussef. At the end, the reader is even left with the impression that this author has deliberately aimed, not to ‘picture’ the Interzone as Bowles has attempted to do, but rather to show the difficulty—nay, the impossibility—of doing so. As Chourouq Nasri has noted, in this regard, rather than evoking a “lost homeland” in a nostalgic or realistic way, Majid has attempted to “articulate its absence.” Thus, in her opinion, the Tangier that emerges from the pages of Si Yussef, 28(I)is partly an idea, a myth, as well as a dominant presence….What we have is an imaginary Tangier. Si Yussef’s remembrances participate not in an act of nostalgia but of forgetting. His is a subterfuge in which Tangier is not so much recovered but invented, made and unmade. Instead of writing up his native space, Majid is striving to show the impossibility of his task.[33]

If Majid’s evocation of Tangier’s history and geography is thus clearly at variance with Bowles’ realistic and Orientalist treatment, the two authors also differ in picturing the socio-cultural reality of this Interzone. For while Bowles cannot help looking at this reality with the Orientalist’s lens of binary opposition between East and West, as already mentioned, Majid tries rather to blur and to question such essentialist and ethnocentric distinction. The marriage of the Moslem Si Yussef with the Spanish catholic Lucia Maria Mendez provides in effect a vivid illustration of how cultures are interconnected and how identities are hybridized in such a ‘contact zone’ as Tangier. This marital relationship is, on the one hand, remarkably successful and harmonious; indeed, Si Yussef is even proud to confirm that Lucia has “given him the relief of one thousand years.”[34] Yet, on the other hand, this harmony is strongly problematized by Si Yussef’s realization that this marriage has engendered the loss of his Arabic and Moslem identity as he finds himself continually speaking Spanish and failing to perform his prayers:

And this is why I regret not having performed my prayers… My good life didn’t help me for my encounter with my creator… A man like me needs more than a good woman; he needs a Muslim. I mostly speak Spanish at home; the pleasure to speak my soul was denied me all these years. As you know, the soul of man lives in his language.[35]

This attitude of deep ambivalence and uncertainty on the part of Si Yussef reveals clearly how the purity of one’s cultural identity cannot be maintained in Tangier’s interstitial space. Si Yussef seems doomed to live in this condition of in-betweeness, and he cannot help being what he now is. For, even if he tends to regret his failure to stick to his Islamic faith and Arabic language, he never really regrets his deep love for Lucia and his marriage with her. Hence Lamin’s comment that Si Yussef is “divided between his absolute loyalty to the woman he loved and his pride for the culture that made him.”[36] —a division that makes of him a good image of the hybrid postcolonial subject.

“One way of re-thinking the Empire in a post-colonial frame,” Catherine Hall notes, “might be to focus on the inter-connections between the histories of ‘metropolis’ and ‘peripheries’ and refuse the simple binary of coloniser and colonised.”[37] This is what Majid has actually managed to do, in his own way, through his portrayal of a number of cross-cultural relations and situations in different parts of his novel. As his treatment of Si Yussef’s relation with Lucia well illustrates, Majid’s view is that the cultures and histories of the Interzone residents are so intricately intertwined that one cannot think of them simply in terms of the ideological polarity between East and West or colonised and coloniser. For the forces of hybridity that reign in such an open and cosmopolitan space destabilize all borderlines between self and Other, rendering thus one’s cultural identity uncertain and highly ambivalent.

It can be then asserted, in conclusion, that Bowles and Majid differ quite remarkably in their manners of picturing the Interzone in their respective novels. While the picture presented by the former writer is obviously informed by the hegemonic and Orientalist ideology of his Western culture, Majid’s picture is, on the contrary, tinged with a certain subversive and counter-hegemonic spirit that generally characterizes postcolonial literature. Thus if Bowles has depicted Tangier as a site of Otherness and colonial appropriation, Majid has rather tried to portray it as a site of deep ambivalence and hybrid identities. And while Bowles has relied totally on the realistic mode of representation and the monologic voice of his omniscient narrator, Majid has deployed both realistic and fantastic modes, in addition to a variety of narrators with diverse dialogic perspectives. Since most of these narrators are Tanjawi natives—e.g. Si Yussef, Lamin, Mamun, Tribaq and Ashab—one can say that Majid has subversively confirmed that the native (or subaltern) can really speak. This means that in contrast to Bowles’ strategy of marginalizing the natives and suppressing their voices throughout his narrative, Majid has managed to show through Si Yussef that these natives have not only substantial presence as full-fledged protagonists, they also have compelling voices, stories and histories by dint of which they are able to contest or subvert the Western hegemonic (mis)representations of both Tangier and Tanjawi people.

Mohamed Elkouche
Faculty of Oujda


“Picturing the Interzone: Tangier in P. Bowles' Let It Come Down and A. Majid's Si Yussef,” in Performing/Picturing Tangier, Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Tetouan, 2007.


[1] Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky (London: HarperCollins Publisher, 1949-1977), 13.
[2] Edmondo De Amicis has noted in his travelogue that Tangier was “considered by its sister cities as having been ‘prostituted to the Christians’,” Morocco: Its People And Places, trans. C. Rollin-Tilton (London: Darf Publishers Limited, 1985 (first pub. 1882], 24.
[3] This phrase is used by William Burroughs in his essay ‘International Zone,’ see ‘Tangier and the Beats: “Sanctuary of Noninterference’, by Francis Poole, Tanger: Espace imaginaire (Casablanca, Imprimerie Annajah Aljadida, 1992) 25.
[4] P. Bowles, Let It Come Down, (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1952, 2000) 21.
[5] Bowles, Let It Come Down, 284.
[6] In an interview, Bowles once stated nostalgically: “When Morocco was still colonial it was a place where any European could have anything. You could do anything, because you ran it. Americans used to go up to the police and take hold of them and slap them in the face. The police couldn’t do anything about it,” interview with Michael Rogers, ‘Conversation in Morocco: The Rolling Stone Interview’, Conversation with Paul Bowles, ed. Gena Dagel Caponi [Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1993) 41.
[7] P. Bowles, Let It Come Down, (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1952, 2000) VII. (NB. The ‘Introduction’ was added in 1980).
[8] Edward Said, Orientalism, (Harmondsworth : Penguin Books, 1978) 72-73.
[9] Bowles himself recognized that the Tangier of Let It Come Down is an imaginative ‘creation’. About his first decision to write this novel, he said: “I began to write that on a freighter as I went past Tangier one night. I was on my way from Antwerp to Colombo, in Ceylon, and we went past Tangier and I felt very nostalgic –I could see faint lights in the fog and I knew that was Tangier. I wanted very much to stop in and see it, but not being able to, since the boat went right on past, I created my own Tangier”, ‘Interview with Paul Bowles”, D. Halpern, Conversations with Paul Bowles, 88.
[10] See Henry James, ‘The Art of Fiction,’ The American Tradition in Literature, ed Sculley Bradley (New York: Random House, 1981) 1153.
[11] Quoted in ‘Introduction: Representing the place of culture’, J. Duncan and D. Ley, eds. Place/Culture/Representation, (London: Routledge, 1993) 5-7.
[12] See J. Duncan and D. Ley, ‘Introduction: Representing the place of culture’, Place/Culture/Representation, 2-3.
[13] See Roland Barthes, Mythologies (New York : The Noonday Press, 1972) 125. He says this while commenting on the picture on a Paris-Match cover of a Negro soldier saluting the French flag. (NB. I use here the term ‘mythology’ in the sense in which Barthes has used it in this book).
[14] Bowles, Let It Come Down, 126-7.
[15] Bowles, Let It Come Down, 262-3.
[16] See Linda Hucheon, A Poetics of Postmodernism : History, Theory, Fiction, (London: Routledge, 1988) XIII.
[17] See Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Writing and Transculturation (London : Routledge, 1992) 6.
[18] Anouar Majid, Si Yussef, (London : Quartet Books, 1992) 117.
[19] Majid, Si Yussef, 3.
[20] Majid, Si Yussef, 7.
[21] See Ahmad Tawfiq, ‘On the Meaning of the Name of Tangier’ (in Arabic) Tanger 1800-1956: Contribution à l’histoire récente du Maroc (Rabat: Les Editions Arabo-Africaines, 1991) 34.
[22] Majid, Si Yussef, 13.
[23] Majid, Si Yussef, 116.
[24] Bill Ashcroft et al. Eds. The Post-Colonial Studies Reader, (London, New York: Routledge, 1995) 183.
[25] Majid, Si Yussef,, 41-2.
[26] Brenda Cooper, Magical Realism in West African Fiction: Seeing With a Third Eye, (London, New York: Routledge, 1998) 22.
[27] Majid, Si Yussef, 39.
[28] Bill Ashcroft et al. Eds. The Post-Colonial Studies: Reader, 392.
[29] Majid, Si Yussef, 121.
[30] Majid, Si Yussef, 72.
[31] Majid, Si Yussef, 94.
[32] Majid, Si Yussef, 144.
[33] Chourouq Nasri, ‘Tangier : A Place Reinvented, Made and Unmade by Anouar Majid in Si Yussef,’ Representing Minorities: Studies in Literature and Criticism, eds. Larbi Touaf and Soumia Boutkhil (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006) 36.
[34] Majid, Si Yussef, 16.
[35] Majid, Si Yussef, 142.
[36] Majid, Si Yussef, 112.
[37] Catherine Hall, ‘Histories, Empires and the Post-Colonial Moment’, The Post-Colonial Question: Common Skies, Divided Horizons, ed. Iain Chambers and Lidia Curti, (London and New York: Routledge, 1996) 70