A Matter of Fate: The Concept of Fate in the Arab World as Reflected in Modern Arabic Literature

By Dalya Cohen-Mor | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

The Arabs and the World

The West has often regarded the Arab world with suspicion mixed with awe. On the one hand, the Arab nations have preserved the special features of their culture and have been critical of the Western way of life, its institutions, and ideas. On the other hand, Arab culture has been poorly understood in the West and conceived mostly in stereotypical terms. The tendency of the Arab world to exercise a certain degree of separatism has also prevented a clear perception of its people. Yet the Arabs have had a dramatic influence on human history: they produced a world religion—Islam—which has become the second largest monotheistic religion, and at the height of the Islamic empire they made important contributions to civilization in every field of human endeavor. However, after the fall of Baghdad in 1258, and especially during the Ottoman age, the Arab world underwent a process of intellectual lethargy, resulting in its decline. The reversal of fortune culminated in a period of European domination that began in the early nineteenth century and lasted until well after the middle of the twentieth century.

Major developments following the liberation of Arab lands, including the discovery of vast reserves of petroleum under Arab sands, the ArabIsraeli conflict, and the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism, along with the significance of these events for global peace, stability, and prosperity, have focused increased attention on the Arab world and generated international concern with its affairs. The West feels an urgent need to know the forces that shape the Arabs' worldview and motivate their actions and reactions. In cross-cultural communication, especially between nations that sometimes find themselves at loggerheads, literature can be an invaluable aid.

-xv-

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A Matter of Fate: The Concept of Fate in the Arab World as Reflected in Modern Arabic Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • Key to the Transliteration xi
  • List of Translated Stories xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • A Matter of Fate *
  • 1 - The Principle of the Prime Mover 3
  • 2 - The Agent of Corrosion 47
  • 3 - The Prison of Life 79
  • 4 - The Yoke of Tradition 105
  • 5 - The Female Experience 131
  • 6 - The Trap of Poverty and Tyranny 159
  • 7 - The Random Arbiter 189
  • 8 - The Double-Edged Sword 219
  • 9 - Conclusion 239
  • Notes 259
  • Glossary 285
  • Select Bibliography 287
  • Permissions 307
  • Index 309
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