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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the development of the novelistic tradition in Libya. Until the mid-twentienth century, literary writing in Libya was dominated by classical and oral folk poetry. The modern prose and short story genres began in 1936 and flourished in the three decades after Libyan independence in 1951 and the discovery of oil in 1958. This chapter first provides an overview of Libyan state, society, and culture in the postcolonial period before identifying and contextualizing the origins of the Libyan novel. It then considers the works of the main novelists, the contributions of women authors, and novels written by Libyan dissident writers who were forced into exile by the Qaddafi dictatorship. It suggests that the Libyan novel reflects periods of profound social transformation, from the era of Italian colonialism to the Qaddafi regime.

Keywords: Libya, folk poetry, prose, short story, Libyan independence, Libyan novel, women authors, dissident writers, exile

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