One of the earliest feminist writers of modern Africa, Assia Djebar was born in 1936 into a middle-class conservative family in Algeria. She read history at the Sorbonne in Paris, and, after teaching at Tunis and Rabat universities, emigrated to France with her husband and children. A modestly successful writer, from the artistic point of view, she began advocating militant feminism even before the Algerian War of Independence. Her main concern is with the submissiveness of Arab women and the tenacity and egoism with which the men have clung to age-old male-chauvinist values. But she is sufficiently balanced in her judgments to hold the women answerable for aspects of their subjugation, by reason of inaction and self-degradation.