Souffles: revue maghrébine littéraire et culturelle was an French and Arabic language literary magazine published in Rabat, Morocco, between 1966 and 1971. Twenty-two numbers appeared.
"This slim booklet contains dynamite," wrote Policy in its 1966 review of new Moroccan quarterly magazine, Souffles. Instigated by a small group of self-professed "linguistic guerrillas" as "a manifesto for a new aesthetics in the Maghreb", it became a conduit for a new generation of writers, artists, and intellectuals to stage a revolution against imperialist and colonial cultural domination. The starting point for this revolution was language.
From its first issue, Souffles posed an aggressive challenge to the traditional Francophone and Arabophone literary divides by encouraging experimentation, translations and collaborations. It wasn’t long before its trademark cover emblazoned with an intense black sun radiated throughout Africa, the Arab world, West Indies and the Black Atlantic. In the early 1970s the magazine changed focus. Motivated by the crushing Arab defeat in Six-Day War and the Paris uprisings, its founder, editor and publisher Abdellatif Laâbi declared that "literature was no longer sufficient." After the 15th issue, dedicated to Palestine, Souffles underwent a major redesign, emerging as a new firebrand organ of leftist revolutionary group, Ila al-Amam. This new political agenda caught the attention of the authorities and in 1972 the magazine was banned and Laâbi arrested. While in prison he was awarded several international poetry prizes. After a long solidarity campaign, he regained his freedom in 1980.
Souffles was inspired by Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, as well as early postcolonial writers such Aime Cesaire, Mario de Andrade, and René Depestre and journals like Presence Africaine. Since its demise, few publications have matched its stature, appeal, or intellectual authority. Its influence can however be felt in contemporary magazines such as Le Journal, Nichane and Biddoun." (Source).
Up to the double issue 10-11, the magazine was in French only, afterwards it also included an Arabic section entitled Anfâs. The magazine cover was designed by the painter Mohammed Melehi.
- The above PDFs are sourced from & linked to the website of Bibliothèque nationale du royaume du Maroc
- HTML versions of all 22 numbers
- Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology From the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics, eds. Olivia C. Harrison and Teresa Villa-Ignacio, Stanford University Press, 2015. (English)
- Bernard Jakobiak, "Souffles de 1966 è 1969", Europe, Jun-Jul 1979, pp 117-123. (French)
- Kristin Prevallet, "Interview Abdellatif Laâbi", ed. Omar Berrada, trans. Kristin Prevallet and Omar Berrada, Double Change, Paris, May 2001. (English)
- Toni Maraini, "Black Sun of Renewal", Springerin 12:4 (Fall 2006); repr. in Red Thread 2 (2010). (English)
- "Souffles", in Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent, Johannesburg, 2007. (English)
- Issandr El Amrani, "In the Beginning There was Souffles", Bidoun 13 (2008).
- Andy Stafford, "Tricontinentalism in Recent Moroccan Intellectual History: The Case of Souffles", Journal of Transatlantic Studies 7:3 (2009), pp 218-232. (English)
- Kenza Sefrioui, "La revue Souffles (1966-1973): quand culture rime avec politique", Interculturel/Francophonie 16 (2009). (French)
- Kenza Sefrioui, La revue Souffles 1966-1973. Espoirs de révolution culturelle au Maroc, pref. Abdellatif Laâbi, Casablanca: Sirocco, 2013. . Video interview with author. (French)