By Muhammad Siddiq
This booklet explores the advanced dating among the radical and id in glossy Arab tradition against a backdrop of latest Egypt. It makes use of the instance of the Egyptian novel to interrogate the foundation causes – non secular, social, political, and mental – of the lingering identification situation that has bothered Arab tradition for no less than centuries.
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Extra resources for Arab Culture, Identity and the Novel: Genre, Identity and Agency in Egyptian Fiction (Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures)
As the fusha branched farther and farther out of the specialized religious discourses and traditional contexts and spread among wider sectors of the reading public through newspapers, translated and Arabized European literary works, and original historical romances, it gradually became more pliable, and consequently more responsive, to the needs of modern imaginative fiction. ” As most of them were Christians whose intellectual formation owed much to modern secular European thought and culture, their enterprise was fraught with a crippling internal contradiction from the outset: The predominantly Islamic society in whose midst they were laboring to disseminate their acquired modern European views was at that very time chafing under direct and often brutal European colonial domination.
Incidentally, al-Hakiim’s entrusting of the edifying “oracular” utterance about Egypt’s past and future to the French archeologist is an example of the privileged position of the European observer/ voyeur within Egyptian narratives of identity mentioned earlier. The combination of presumed innate soundness of French cultural sensibility and disciplinary training invests the archeologist’s prediction with objective “scientific” validity. ) There are other good reasons to suspect that the ideological subtexts of the respective positions of Nasser and al-Hakim operated at cross-purposes in this case, and that the leader’s interpretation may in fact have run counter to the writer’s intention.
Here let me turn briefly to the vexing question of origins and the theoretical terms and rhetorical strategies in which it is often expressed. Historical beginnings and their discursive ends Two key and seminal terms ground the perennial debate over the origins of the Arabic novel and modern Arabic literature in general. These are: asala (authenticity, originality) and hadatha (novelty, innovation, modernism). A host of cognate and ancillary terms cluster around each to support the respective arguments in the controversy.
Arab Culture, Identity and the Novel: Genre, Identity and Agency in Egyptian Fiction (Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures) by Muhammad Siddiq