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A Reader's Guide
Exploring the works of such best-selling authors as Rabih Alameddine, Mohja Kahf, Laila Halaby, Diana Abu-Jaber, Alicia Erian, and Randa Jarrar, Salaita highlights the development of each author’s writing and how each has influenced Arab American fiction. He examines common themes including the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Lebanese Civil War of 1975–90, the representation and practice of Islam in the United States, social issues such as gender and national identity in Arab cultures, and the various identities that come with being Arab American. Combining the accessibility of a primer with in-depth critical analysis, Modern Arab American Fiction is suitable for a broad audience, those unfamiliar with the subject area, as well as scholars of the literature.
An Anthology of Muhammad Zafzaf’s Short Stories
A master of the short story form, Muhammad Zafzaf is one of Morocco’s greatest narrative writers. This anthology, the first collection of his work translated into English, is a tribute to the remarkable influence he exerted on an entire generation of Moroccan storytellers. Zafzaf’s stories are set within a variety of contexts, each portraying a slice of life, a simple struggle for survival in a challenging world that is changing at a rapid pace. Narrative time is reduced to a single glimpse in these stories, full of irony, sarcasm, and sympathy. He covers all aspects of Moroccan life, from remote rural villages to modern cities. The stories in this collection explore the various myths, beliefs, and traditions that operate within Moroccan culture, questioning them from a distance in an easy, conversational manner that is the hallmark of Zafzaf’s style.
Police, Crime, and Politics in Popular Culture
Facing rising demands for human rights and the rule of law, the Moroccan state fostered new mass media and cultivated more positive images of the police, once the symbol of state repression, reinventing the relationship between citizen and state for a new era. Jonathan Smolin examines popular culture and mass media to understand the changing nature of authoritarianism in Morocco over the past two decades. Using neglected Arabic sources including crime tabloids, television movies, true-crime journalism, and police advertising, Smolin sheds new light on politics and popular culture in the Middle East and North Africa.
The Arabic and French Literary Landscapes of Lebanon
Can a reality lived in Arabic be expressed in French? Can a French-language literary work speak Arabic? In Native Tongue, Stranger Talk Hartman shows how Lebanese women authors use spoken Arabic to disrupt literary French, with sometimes surprising results. Challenging the common claim that these writers express a Francophile or “colonized” consciousness, this book demonstrates how Lebanese women writers actively question the political and cultural meaning of writing in French in Lebanon. Hartman argues that their innovative language inscribes messages about society into their novels by disrupting class-status hierarchies, narrow ethno-religious identities, and rigid gender roles. Because the languages of these texts reflect the crucial issues of their times, Native Tongue, Stranger Talk guides the reader through three key periods of Lebanese history: the French Mandate and Early Independence, the Civil War, and the postwar period. Three novels are discussed in each time period, exposing the contours of how the authors “write Arabic in French” to invent new literary languages.
Islam, the West, and the Transcultural Invention of Africa
Of Irony and Empire is a dynamic, thorough examination of Muslim writers from former European colonies in Africa who have increasingly entered into critical conversations with the metropole. Focusing on the period between World War I and the present, “the age of irony,” this book explores the political and symbolic invention of Muslim Africa and its often contradictory representations. Through a critical analysis of irony and resistance in works by writers who come from nomadic areas around the Sahara—Mustapha Tlili (Tunisia), Malika Mokeddem (Algeria), Cheikh Hamidou Kane (Senegal), and Tayeb Salih (Sudan)—Laura Rice offers a fresh perspective that accounts for both the influence of the Western, instrumental imaginary, and the Islamic, holistic one.
Shahrazad Tells Her Story
Authors of autobiographies are always engaged in creating a “self” to present to their readers. This process of self-creation raises a number of intriguing questions: why and how does anyone choose to present herself or himself in an autobiography? Do women and men represent themselves in different ways and, if so, why? How do differences in culture affect the writing of autobiography in various parts of the world? This book tackles these questions through a close examination of Arab women’s autobiographical writings. Nawar Al-Hassan Golley applies a variety of western critical theories, including Marxism, colonial discourse, feminism, and narrative theory, to the autobiographies of Huda Shaarawi, Fadwa Tuqan, Nawal el-Saadawi, and others to demonstrate what these critical methodologies can reveal about Arab women’s writing. At the same time, she also interrogates these theories against the chosen texts to see how adequate or appropriate these models are for analyzing texts from other cultures. This two-fold investigation sheds important new light on how the writers or editors of Arab women’s autobiographies have written, documented, presented, and organized their texts.
Said and the Unsaid
Drawing on the extensive discussion of the late Edward Said's work, this new study addresses the ambitious intellectual history of the debates that Orientalism has sparked in several disciplines, including its reception among Arab and European scholars.
Memory, Identity, and Creation in the Work of David Shahar
The first book-length study of the Israeli novelist David Shahar. David Shahar (1926–1997), author of the seven-novel sequence The Palace of Shattered Vessels, occupies an ambiguous position in the Israeli literary canon. Often compared to Proust, Shahar produced a body of work that offers a fascinating poetic and ideological alternative to the dominant models of Amos Oz and A. B. Yehoshua. This book, the first full-length study of this fascinating author, takes a fresh look at the uniqueness of his literary achievement in both poetic and ideological terms. In addition to situating Shahar within the European literary tradition, the book reads Shahar’s representation of Jerusalem in his multi-volume novel as a “heterotopia”—an actual space where society’s unconscious (what does not fit on its ideological map) is materially present—and argues for the relevance of Shahar’s work to the critical discussion of the Arab question in Israeli culture.
The Glory of a Medieval Persian City
The fourteenth-century Persian city of Shiraz was home to Shams al-Din Mohammad Hafez Shirazi, a classical poet who remains broadly popular today in modern Iran and among all lovers of great verse traditions. As John Limbert notes, Hafez’s poetry is inseparable from the Iranian spirit -a reflection of Iranians’ intellectual and emotional responses to events.
Literary Affects and the New Political
Challenging prevalent conceptualizations of modernity--which treat it either as a Western ideology imposed by colonialism or as a universal narrative of progress and innovation--this study instead offers close readings of the simultaneous performances and contestations of modernity staged in works by authors such as Rifa'a al-Tahtawi, Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, Tayeb Salih, Hanan al-Shaykh, Hamdi Abu Golayyel, and Ahmad Alaidy. In dialogue with affect theory, deconstruction, and psychoanalysis, the book reveals these trials to be a violent and ongoing confrontation with and within modernity. In pointed and witty prose, El-Ariss bridges the gap between Nahda (the so-called Arab project of Enlightenment) and postcolonial and postmodern fiction.