As we approach the end of the twentieth century, Arab-American literature shows every sign of coming into its own. One by one, new writers are surfacing, new voices are sounding. It is an exciting moment for those of us who have been waiting a long time for poems and stories that make myth of (and so make real) our experience and that of our immigrant ancestors.
At the same time, a few scholars have begun paying attention to the body of work, scant though it may be, produced by earlier generations of Arab-American writers. It is now possible to see that over the last eighty or ninety years, Arab- American literature has developed in three distinct stages--early, middle, and recent--each of them responsive to the political currents of its day.
There was a time when poets and writers were the boast of the Arab-American community. In the early decades of this century, a brotherhood of émigré writers in New York City, experimenting with English but generally doing their best work in Arabic, produced poetry (and sometimes fiction) of such originality that it breathed new life into Arabic literature back home, setting it on a road that would eventually lead to modernism. 1 Even today, these writers are celebrated____________________