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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

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).

Keywords: Arabic novel, history, literary genre, Arab, Islam, narrative, Arabic literature, Arabic historical novel, Sālim Ḥimmīsh, literary history

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