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The Uses of First Person Writings / Les usages des écrits du for privé

Africa, America, Asia, Europe / Afrique, Amérique, Asie, Europe

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Edited By François-Joseph Ruggiu

This book considers first-person writing and the related questions of the formation of the self, the rise of the individual and the private/public debate, and places these considerations within a multicultural perspective. It compares the characteristics of European or Occidental personal writings (such as diaries, memoirs and autobiographies) with the written forms of personal, intimate and autobiographical self which have existed and continue to exist within various Asian, African or Near Eastern cultures. The book constitutes a call for a global history of personal writing.
Ce livre s’intéresse, dans une perspective multiculturelle, à l’écriture de soi, et aux questions connexes de la formation même du soi, de l’émergence de l’individu ou encore du débat sur l’apparition des sphères privées et publiques. Il compare les caractéristiques de l’écrit personnel tel qu’il a eu cours en Europe ou dans les pays occidentaux (comme les journaux intimes, les mémoires, les autobiographies, entre autres) avec les formes écrites du soi personnel, intime ou autobiographique telles qu’elles ont pu exister, et existent, dans différentes cultures asiatiques, africaines ou proches-orientales. Ce livre lance également un appel pour une histoire globale des écrits personnels.

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Self Narratives in Arabic Texts 1500-1800 - Nelly Hanna

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139 Self Narratives in Arabic Texts 1500-1800 Nelly HANNA American University in Cairo There has been a long-standing debate as to whether or not the self or the individual was essentially a European phenomena which later spread to the rest of the world. A dominant view considered the self as having emerged during the modern or early modern period in Europe and having reached other parts of the world later, as a result of the influence of European culture. Historians of the Middle East have entered this debate and they focused their discussions around the same question, namely as to whether there were autobiographies in Middle Eastern prior to the modern period and the penetration of European culture. There is no consensus on this subject. On one side of the spectrum is Thomas Philipp’s view that autobiography was by definition a modern genre and that only a modern worldview allowed a person to discover the uniqueness of his individual experience. He nevertheless noted that there existed an enormous amount of autobiographical material in Arabic literature, but he made a distinction between the autobiography, or the simple presentation of material by a person about his or herself, and a real biography which shed light on that person’s personal development and his emotional world (Philipp, 1993, 573-5). On the other side of the spectrum, Hilary Kilpatrick identified texts in classical Arabic literature which were clearly autobiographical rather than a collection of data about a particular person, since they touched on personal matters...

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