The Postcolonial Arabic Novel: Debating Ambivalence

The Postcolonial Arabic Novel: Debating Ambivalence

The Postcolonial Arabic Novel: Debating Ambivalence

The Postcolonial Arabic Novel: Debating Ambivalence

Synopsis

This is the first study of its kind to tackle the postcolonial in Arabic fiction. In ten chapters, a lengthy preface and an extensive bibliography, the author discusses and questions a large number of novels that demonstrate cultural diversity and richness in the Arab World. Using current methodologies and discourse analysis, the author highlights engagements with postcolonial issues that relate to identity formation, the modern nation-state, individualism, nationalism, gender and class demarcations, and micro-politics. With this intention, the book locates Arabic narrative in the mainstream of world literature, and establishes the modern Arabic novel in the contemporary literary critical world of postcolonial studies. The authors lucid style and thorough knowledge of the field should recommend the book to students and scholars alike, as it comes in time to meet the needs of the academy for solid writing on Islam and the Arabs.

Excerpt

This book deals with long narratives in Arabic that manifest keen awareness of Arab life and culture. It avoids periodization in order to tackle issues that cut across time and space despite their material relevance insofar as social justice, political freedom and national or communal independence are concerned. As a study and critique of the modern Arabic novel, especially in its post-Maḥfūẓian phase, this study makes use of some earlier studies and readings, but it attempts to go beyond these in its engagement with postcolonial issues that relate to identity formation, the modern nation-state, individualism, nationalism, gender and class demarcations, and micro-politics. My reading aspires to locate Arabic narrative in the mainstream of world literature, and to establish the modern Arabic novel within the contemporary literary critical world of postcolonial studies.

While it provides a socio-political survey of the cultural scene, its focus is on the postcolonial, not only as a historical framework, but also as an awareness of identity, individuality, conflict, contacts among peoples and cultures, and challenge on personal, communal and national levels. Its issues cut across gender, race, class, and religion, throughout pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial times reaching to the emergence of neo-patriarchies and the challenge of the New World Order. Novels from North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Libya), the Middle East, and Egypt are studied in context to offer the reader a deep and panoramic view of Arabic narrative.

The appearance of the native intelligentsia, with its divided aims and pursuits, receives, and with good reason, great attention in this book. As some of these elites are behind the emergence of the nation state, there is a sustained reading of the texts that address issues of identity, essentialism, authoritarianism, and neo-patriarchy. Prison narratives, narratives of women's plight, and madhouse narratives, are analyzed, among others, to understand the formation of neo-patriarchy.

One of the many challenges to students and critics of modern Arabic fiction is the amount of presumptions, platitudes, fabrications, and . . .

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