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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the development of the novel genre in Saudi Arabia. The early novels in Saudi Arabia were not considered a form of entertainment and had limited readership because, until recently, poetry was the dominant genre. The development of the novel was slow in the period 1930–1959, and novels tended to focus on cultural and social reform, varying from skepticism about external influences to a more balanced staging of dialogue with the Other. This chapter examines the Saudi novel’s movement toward new modes of innovation and modernism during the period 1959–1970, and 1980–2012, women’s literature and the depiction of women in the Saudi novel, and the contribution of women writers in the efflorescence of the genre. It also considers novels that challenge ethos of concealment, leading to negative aesthetics in the new millennium.

Keywords: Saudi Arabia, Saudi novel, innovation, modernism, women’s literature, women, negative aesthetics

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