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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.
Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom Movement
A woman not only needs a room of her own, as Virginia Woolf wrote, but also the freedom to leave it and return to it at will; for a room without that right becomes a prison cell. The privilege of self-directed movement, the power to pick up and go as one pleases, has not been a traditional "right" of Iranian women. This prerogative has been denied them in the name of piety, anatomy, chastity, class, safety, and even beauty. It is only during the last 160 years that the spell has been broken and Iranian women have emerged as a moderating, modernizing force. Women writers have been at the forefront of this desegregating movement and renegotiation of boundaries. Words, Not Swords explores the legacy of sex segregation and its manifestations in Iranian literature and film and in notions of beauty and the erotics of passivity. Milani expands her argument beyond Iranian culture, arguing that freedom of movement is a theme that crosses frontiers and dissolves conventional distinctions of geography, history, and religion. She makes bold connections between veiling and foot binding, between Cinderella and Barbie, between the figures of the female Gypsy and the witch. In so doing, she challenges cultural hierarchies that divert attention from key issues in the control of women across the globe.