Finally available in English, Le Règne de la barbarie by Abdellatif Laâbi is one of the most daring poetic visions of the second half of the twentieth century. First published in 1976 when Laabi was serving an eight-year prison sentence (1972-1980) for ‘crimes of opinion’ against the Moroccan State, The Rule of Barbarism is a devastating flight through consciousness, acquainting the reader with the trials of a society caught between a colonial past and the tragic realities of a brutal dictatorship. Analysing the presence of ‘barbarism’ inherent in all of us, and yet deepening our capacity for compassion despite the allure of revenge, this stunning debut from a writer on the threshold of a groundbreaking career can be read as an epic of love, empathy, anger and despair—and is as resonant today as when composed nearly fifty years ago.
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