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Henri Duveyrier. Un saint-simonien au désert

Abstract : Henri Duveyrier, the explorer of the Sahara, was essentially the man of two books strangely antinomic: the story of an idyllic encounter and, twenty years later, the transcription of a nightmare. Duveyrier was twenty-four years old when he published, in 1864, Les Touareg du Nord, a book written after returning from a three-year trip to the desert. Growing up in the Saint-Simonian milieu, he had broken with his elders without renouncing their ideals of universal brotherhood. But as the colonial conquest was in full swing, the time did not last long for fraternity. Twenty years later, not suspecting how much the Tuaregs were afraid of the French expansion in the Sahara, Duveyrier did not understand why men who had welcomed him so well during his first stay were hostile to travelers venturing into the desert. And he thought to have found the reason: no doubt, they were influenced by the propaganda of the Senoussistes, members of a Muslim brotherhood to which he lent infinite power and malice. He had devoted to the brotherhood some troubled pages in Les Touareg du Nord, but in 1884 it was much more peremptory in a hallucinatory writing: La confrérie musulmane de Sidi Muhammad bin Al-Es-Senousi (The Muslim Brotherhood of Sidi Muhammad bin Al-Es-Senousi). His own destiny has been the same as his two books. The young man who, on May 13, 1859, left the oasis of Biskra for a journey he undertook "out of love for science and to satisfy a great passion for the discoveries of distant lands" did not doubt the promises that life seemed to make him. On April 25, 1892, when he entered the wood of Meudon with a revolver in his pocket, he had had time to learn that life does not always keep its promises. This biography follows Duveyrier in his journey among the Tuaregs, in the writing of Les Touaregs du Nord, then in the sad journey that led him from this first book to the second, then to suicide.
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  • HAL Id : halshs-00138013, version 1

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Dominique Casajus. Henri Duveyrier. Un saint-simonien au désert. Ibis Press, 294 p., 2007. ⟨halshs-00138013⟩

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