Charles de Foucaulds Reconnaissance au Maroc, 18831884
Rosemary A. Peters-Hill
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Belletristik / Essays, Feuilleton, Literaturkritik, Interviews
Reconnaissance au Maroc is Charles de Foucauld’s adventurous account of his Moroccan explorations. For eleven months in 1883–84, Foucauld travelled through a country then off-limits to Europeans, documenting its landscape and charting its waterways. He travelled in disguise as a Russian rabbi, Joseph Aleman, accompanied by the real rabbi Mardochée Aby Serour, and sought hospitality in the mellahs, Jewish quarters, of villages along their route. Foucauld meticulously recorded every day of his time in Morocco, and by the time his memoir was published in 1888 it had already garnered praise in France and the prestigious gold medal from the Société de Géographie de Paris. The book is more than merely a travel memoir, however: as an artefact of cultural and religious encounter, and as a scientific compendium, Reconnaissance au Maroc offers an extraordinary glimpse of the late-nineteenth century French mentality toward North Africa, as well as a cross-section of Moroccan society in the pre-colonial era. Rosemary Peters-Hill’s volume translates Foucauld’s work into English for the first time, situating Reconnaissance within the contexts of both late-nineteenth century French writing about ailleurs, other places, and Foucauld’s own journey through Morocco: the “other” place where, paradoxically, he found his true self and calling.