Unsettling scores

Making music and promoting peace in the written work of francophone women

Francosphères (2016), 5, (2), 197–212.


Evelyne Accad, Assia Djebar, and Anna Moï are three francophone women writers who have composed literary works in which music plays a prominent role. Even though these authors evoke the atrocities of war in their different homelands, their textual creations do not attempt to set the record straight, to right countless wrongs, or to finally ‘settle the score’. Instead, music infuses the written work in order to communicate – and to enact – a moving beyond. These scores are unsettling, not only because they break with convention in their inventiveness, but also, and especially, because they belong to another logic, one that eschews retribution and revenge, which instead is expansive, openminded, even forgiving. While their texts constitute an acknowledgement that what is past must be respectfully remembered, these writers refuse to enter into a battle of words and ideologies, preferring to embrace innovative forms in the hope of ultimately overcoming points of contention. For these writers, making music in the literary text is not only an aesthetic enterprise; it is also a movement deeply engaged in promoting peace.


Author details

Rice, Alison