This chapter examines the development of the novel in Algeria within the context of the country’s history. Much Algerian literature functions as a means of political expression. The social status of women has been an important theme, addressed either as a critique of patriarchy or through the notion of women’s voice. Since the early 1990s, literary publishing has increased in scope and diversity; while the different trajectories of the French and Arabic novel have come closer together, the range of political perspectives reflected in the novels has widened. This chapter provides an overview of Arabic literature and the French-language novel published in Algeria up to 1962 before turning to a discussion of the period 1962–1992. It then considers the novel since 1993, including the work of authors in exile who have established and gained international recognition for the Algerian Arabic novel.
This chapter examines the relationship between the Arabic novel and history within the context of the Arabic-speaking world, and in particular the process of producing a literary history of the novel genre written in Arabic. It first considers the early development of the novel genre in Arabic as part of a cultural movement that gained impetus in the nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on the interplay of two cultural forces: the importation of Western ideas (including literary genres) and the role of the premodern Arab-Islamic cultural heritage in each subregion. It then discusses examples of narrative from the premodern heritage of Arabic literature before turning to the history of the Arabic novel. The chapter also presents examples of the Arabic historical novel, one of which is Sālim Ḥimmīsh’s Al-‘Allāma (2001, The Polymath).
Christina E. Civantos
This chapter examines the main trends and themes found across the novels of the Hispano-American mahjar (place of exile and immigrant life), with particular emphasis on Argentina. It considers the Arab Hispano-American novel in the context of the local, national, and regional cultural spaces that the authors or their families left behind, as well as the ones they now inhabit. It analyzes Arabic-language novels and proto-novels (most of which fit within so-called “exile literature”) and Spanish-language novels produced by Arab immigrants to Argentina during the first half of the twentieth century. It also discusses works published in the latter half of the twentieth century across Hispano-America. Hispanic mahjar novels that tackle the theme of spirituality as a means to make sense of migration; the issue of language used by writers to tell the story of the Arab immigrant experience; and Arab heritage as a source of narrative creativity.
This chapter examines the development of the Arab Australian novel since its beginnings, surveying works produced in Arabic and English by three generations of Arab Australian authors. It first considers David Malouf, whose Johnno (1975) marks the beginning of the Arab Australian novel, before turning to first-generation immigrants who introduced the Arabic-language novel in the 1980s and the English-language immigrant novel in the mid-1990s. It then discusses the contribution of the second-generation Arab Australians in the literary field. It shows that the Arab Australian novel is more than just an “immigrant narrative,” or fictional “Arab voices in Diaspora,” and that all Arab Australian novelists, except for Malouf, are preoccupied with the questions of home and identity.
Barbara Michalak-Pikulska and Waïl S. Hassan
This chapter examines the development of the novel in Bahrain. It first provides an overview of the beginnings of the literary movement in Bahrain, noting the role played by the press in the development of modern Bahraini literature, particularly prose genres. It then looks at the first generation of Bahraini authors, including Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Malik, who began publishing short stories in 1966, and ‘Abd Allah Khalīfa, whose early fiction contains realistic representations of life centered on the sea. The chapter also discusses a number of Bahraini novels written by the second generation of Bahraini authors, including Walīd Hāshim, Fatḥiyya Nā ṣir, and Aḥmad al-Mu’adhdhin.
Waïl S. Hassan
This chapter examines the development of the Arabic novel in Brazil. Arab immigrants who went to Brazil to work as peddlers were labeled turcos, a term that has given rise to the most enduring stereotype of Arabs in Brazil. After discussing the beginnings of Arab immigration in Brazil and the rest of the American hemisphere, the chapter considers some of the novels written in Arabic by immigrants in Brazil. Next, it discusses Lusophone Arab Brazilian novelists who have written about Arab immigration or ethnicity. Their novels can be roughly divided into three groups: works by immigrants’ children that depict the immigrant experience, often nostalgically; works that analyze the conflicts of immigrants’ children as they integrate themselves into Brazilian society; and works that enact a countermovement toward Arab culture on the part of third-generation Arab Brazilians.
Geoffrey P. Nash
This chapter examines the development of Arab British fiction. It begins with an overview of the making of Arab British fiction, citing anti-colonialism, Orientalism, and hybridization as the main elements of Anglophone Arab writing up to the close of the twentieth century. It then considers British novels about Egypt in which paternalistic “genuine love” for, and “wise understanding” of, the politics of Egypt overlaid colonial attitudes. It also analyzes Arab British fiction in relation to the colonial experience Arabs received from British domination in Arab lands, which lasted from the end of World War I to the early 1950s. Finally, it discusses postcolonial crosscurrents in the works of Arab British women, along with the predicament of exile and Diasporic consciousness in male Arab British fiction.
This chapter examines the development of the Arab Canadian novel, first by discussing the history of Arab immigration and the Canadian cultural and political landscape. It then considers the beginnings of Arabic fiction in Canada, focusing on Arab Canadian literary figures such as Sa‘d al-Khādim, along with early novels written in French and English. It also looks at playwrights who have written novels and discusses works with contemporary cultural politics as the main theme. The chapter reveals that Arab Canadians and Quebecois are actively involved in many literary, cultural, and activist scenes, as reflected in works that expose racism and the myths of official multiculturalism.
Heba El Attar
This chapter examines the literary work of the Arab diaspora in Chile, with particular emphasis on the Arab-Chilean, Syrian-Lebanese, and Palestinian-Chilean novels. It begins with an overview of the history of Arab immigration to Chile and how Arab immigrants were able to assimilate into Chilean society through their literary creativity. It then considers previous scholarship on the Arab-Chilean novel, which typically embodied several different stages of the journey to and within Chile: displacement, nostalgia, alienation, and integration. It also discusses the Syrian-Lebanese novel and the main themes of the Palestinian-Chilean novel, which include Palestine prior to the Partition, along with works that invoke border crossing. Finally, it explains how Palestinian immigrants succeeded over time in accumulating a twofold cultural capital in Chile.
This chapter examines the development of the novel in Egypt since 1960, with particular emphasis on the processes undergone by fiction writing in a period of rapid transformations. It first considers how Egypt’s defeat in the Six Day War against Israel in 1967 raised more inquiries into national history and promoted a new outlook on local and global relations, leading to increasing innovation in novelistic form. It then explores works by various authors who sought to rewrite the past, to narrate the nation in a counter-discourse that emphasizes the right to sovereignty, to represent the marginalized masses and the Nubian Diaspora, and to shape an alternative modernity. It also discusses Egyptian novels by writers using Arabic in Diaspora who challenged established constructs that have excluded those living in the periphery, along with those who represented ephemeral subjectivities.
This chapter examines the development of the novel in Egypt until 1959, focusing on its chronology and literary characteristics. It begins with an overview of the Egyptian novel genre and its narrative precedents, along with its connection to the cultural movement of the nineteenth century known as al-Nahḍa. After discussing al-Nahḍa’s two primary sources of inspiration, iqtibās (borrowing) and iḥyā’ (revival), the chapter considers the early periods in the development of modern Arabic narrative in Egypt. It also explores the emergence of the travel narrative and the historical novel, the rise of women writers, and the revival of the maqāma. Finally, it analyzes the novel Zaynab, published in 1913 by Muḥammad Ḥusayn Haykal, and novels published from the 1930s to the year 1959.
This chapter examines the development of the novel in Eritrea. It begins with a discussion of literary languages used by Eritrean authors, including Tigrinya, Tigre, and Arabic. It then turns to Muḥammad Sa‘īd Nāwid, the author of the first Eritrean novel in Arabic, and other authors who focused on the independence war. It also explores novels that deal with new themes such as migration, politics and social issues, and genres such as the historical novel, along with works that include references to Arab culture and Islamic identity. Finally, it considers the fiction of female writer Ḥanān Muḥammad Ṣ āliḥ.
This chapter examines and contextualizes important cornerstones of the Arab Diasporic novel in France. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French fascination with the Arabic language and civilizations of the Mashriq was part and parcel of Orientalism. As French writers and intellectuals traveled to the Mashriq, in Egypt the Nahḍa movement in its cultural and literary dimensions drew inspiration from French literature. The chapter first considers the historical and institutional forces that created and influenced the Arab Diasporic novel in France before turning to early Francophone novels. Three categories of writers are discussed: Maghribi Francophone writers who either lived extensively or settled permanently in France in the 1950s–1970s; bilingual and multicultural novelists of exile from Egypt and Lebanon; and second-generation Maghribi writers whose writing appeared in the 1980s.
This chapter focuses on the development of the Arab German novel. Arab writers came to Germany primarily as students and political exiles and became well known in the country in the 1980s. In the beginning, most of them engaged with the thematics of immigration and cultural diversity and encountered prejudice in the reception of their works, as had Turkish writers. The work of the pioneers of Arab German literature was also categorized under the exclusionist term Gastarbeiterliteratur (guest worker literature) and Ausländerliteratur (literature of foreigners). After providing an overview of the beginnings and major themes of the Arab German novel, this chapter considers the works of pioneer writers from Syria, Lebanon, and the Negev, as well as those of Iraqi German writers.
Waïl S. Hassan
This book offers a comprehensive survey of Arab novelistic traditions. It consists of forty-two chapters that explore the historical, geographical, and linguistic dimensions of the Arabic novel. It looks at the genesis of the Arabic novel from a fresh perspective, highlighting its deep and diverse roots (Arabic, Persian, Indian, and European sources), as well as its multiple and multilingual traditions. Those traditions of the novel are mapped out historically and geopolitically, in their distinct national contexts, both as an art form and as one of numerous indices of Arab modernity. The book traces the premodern, or precolonial, roots of the Arabic novel, which stretch back centuries within the Arabic literary tradition, and describes its spread outward, geographically and linguistically, to almost every Arab country and in Arab immigrant destinations around the world. It has three parts that focus on continuities with the Arabic and other literary traditions, the Arabic novel in the Arab world and in sub-Saharan Africa, and the development of the Arab Diasporic novel in each country where such a phenomenon exists.
This chapter examines the development of the novel in Iraq. It first considers the beginnings of prose narrative in Iraq, using the intermingling of the short story and the novel, particularly in the first half of the twentieth century, as a framework for reassessing the formal qualities of the Arabic novel. It then turns to romantic and historical novels published in the 1920s, as well as novels dealing with social issues like poverty and the condition of peasants in the countryside. It discusses the narrative emergence of the bourgeois intellectual’s self-awareness and interiority in Iraqi fiction, especially the novella; works that continued the expression of a critical social realism in the Iraqi novelistic tradition and the appearance of modernist aesthetics; and narratives that addressed dictatorship and war in Iraq. The chapter concludes with an overview of the novel genre in Iraq after 2003.
This chapter focuses on the development of the Italian novel identified with the Arab Diaspora. Literature in Italian by Arab writers is associated with the large-scale immigration from outside the European Union that the country began to experience in the late 1970s. As distinct from the traditions of Anglophone and Francophone literature, the notion of Italophone literature has acquired little currency, despite the focus of the definition of “migration literature in Italian” on the common language of writing. This chapter explores the reasons for this, and looks at the works of some Maghrebi and Middle Eastern male writers who have successfully explored the novel as a form in recent Italian literature. It also considers the role of language as a point of entry of Arabic culture into the Italian novel, along with the distinctive contribution of novels by Arab women writers.
This chapter discusses the development of the novel in Jordan. It first provides an overview of the beginnings of the novel as a genre in Jordan, focusing on works that tend to be filled with direct, almost sermon-like, preaching, digressions into various unrelated topics, and popular psychological analysis. It then considers the maturation of the novel in Jordan, noting how the collapse of the dominant ideologies of nationalism associated with Egypt’s Nasser and the Syrian Ba‘ath Party seems to have worked as an impetus for a new kind of novel writing in the country. It also looks at a younger generation of Jordanian authors, along with the significant leap in Jordanian novelistic production from the 1970s to the mid-1980s. Finally, it examines the emergence of the historical novel and the works of women authors.
Olatunbosun Ishaq Tijani
This chapter discusses the development of the novelistic tradition in Kuwait. It first provides an overview of the beginnings of modern Kuwaiti literature, focusing on the efflorescence of the short story and the rise and maturation of the novel genre. It then considers Kuwaiti novels that depicted the events and effects of the Iraq-Kuwait War of 1990–1991, led by Walīd al-Rujayb’s Ṭalqa fī ṣadr al-shamāl (1992, A Shot in the Chest of the North). It also examines works that tackled the social conditions of Kuwaiti society in pre-oil and post-oil times, gender inequality, and other social justice issues such as immigration, poverty, and the Bidūn question. Finally, it charts the emergence of the historical and the philosophical novel, along with science fiction, as subgenres of the Kuwaiti novel.
This chapter discusses the development of the novelistic tradition in Lebanon. It first provides an overview of the complex relationship between the Lebanese novel and nation-state before considering works published prior to the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War. It then examines novels that appeared during the war years (1975–1990), along with novels written either during or immediately after the war but set in the nineteenth or early twentieth century. It also looks at contemporary postwar novels that vary from realistic to fantastical, from epistolary to first-person narrative, and from fuṣ ḥa to colloquial Arabic. The chapter describes the violence that characterizes the current period, citing as examples the slew of political assassinations and abductions, Israeli attacks, Hizballah takeovers, turmoil in the Palestinian camps, sectarian battles in Tripoli, and suicide car bombings, all reflected in the contemporary Lebanese novel.