The Novel and the Rural Imaginary in Egypt 1880-1985 by Samah Selim

By Samah Selim

The e-book locates questions of languages, style, textuality and canonicity inside a historic and theoretical framework that foregrounds the emergence of recent nationalism in Egypt. The ways that the cultural discourses produced by twentieth century Egyptian nationalism created an area for either a hegemonic and counter-hegemonic politics of language, classification and position that inscribed a bifurcated narrative and social geography, are tested. The booklet argues that the rupture among the village and the town inside the Egyptian nationalism discourse is reproduced as a story dislocation that has persisted to symbolize and form the Egyptian novel usually and the village novel particularly. analyzing the village novel in Egypt as a dynamic intertext that constructs modernity in a neighborhood ancient and political context instead of rehearsing an easy repetition of dominant eu literary-critical paradigms, this ebook bargains a brand new method of the development of recent Arabic literary historical past in addition to to theoretical questions regarding the constitution and position of the unconventional as a sophisticated narrative style.

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Extra resources for The Novel and the Rural Imaginary in Egypt 1880-1985 (Routledgecurzon Studies in Arabic and Middle Eastern Literature)

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21 Social and political satire using characters ‘drawn from the lowest strata of society’ was one of the most important of these features. Badawi calls this type of satiric comedy ‘buffoonery’22 and identifies it as one of the main conventions of the shadow-play genre. 23 Linguistically, the shadow-play bears many resemblances to the drama and the dramatic dialogue pioneered by Sannu‘ and Nadim. 26 Nadim’s fusul and Sannu‘ ’s playlets were firmly rooted in this satiric popular tradition. A distinct and fully developed popular, local dramatic tradition with which both Sannu‘ and Nadim must have been conversant certainly existed in Egypt in the late nineteenth century.

13 By mid-century, a number of plays by Molière and Racine had been translated into Arabic and were being performed by Arab troupes for mixed audiences. Arab writers traveling in Europe were afforded further opportunity to observe Western drama. Marun al-Naqqash and Ya‘qub Sannu‘ had first-hand experience of the Italian theater, having both traveled to Italy in their youth. In his autobiography, Sannu‘ cites Molière, Goldoni and Sheridan as the dramatists that most influenced his own work. The Naqqash brothers and Adib Ishaq produced translated European plays and original Arabic pieces on stages in Beirut and Alexandria.

Narrative genres that fall outside of the framework of this methodology become textually and historically problematic and are hence treated as perhaps interesting, but nonetheless abortive attempts to produce the novel genre in Arabic. Matti Moosa’s The Origins of Modern Arabic Fiction is a good example of this paradigm. Moosa explains the literary history of the Nahdah in terms of an East-West binarism in which modern Arabic fiction remains locked in the throes of an eternally frozen antithetical tension with superior European narrative genres.

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