Fiction and Autobiography by Arab Writers in English
Introduction The Anglo-Arab Encounter
In this book I will be examining the corpus of a group of writers from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Sudan who have taken the decision to incorporate Arab subjects and themes into the English language. There is a qualitative difference between Arabic literature, Arabic literature translated into English, and a literature conceived and executed in English by writers of Arab background.1 To explicate these differences and set out the parameters of my study I shall take Edward Said’s term the ‘Anglo-Arab encounter’ as embodied in Anglophone fiction and autobiography by writers of Arab ethnicity. Overarching this category must be considered the formative influences on contemporary international literatures: the postcolonial, with its theorisation of inter-cultural relations by reference to the impact of colonialism and imperialism on non-Western literatures; the inter- nationalisation of literatures, which is where the cutting-edge effects of globalisation impact today upon the production of writing for trans- national markets; and feminism, in this case the issue of the trans- position of specific Arab/Islamic feminisms (and the Western influ- ences that went into their construction) into a literature composed for a non-Arab/Islamic audience. As far as Arab Anglophone writing is concerned, these conditions operate within the spaces first opened by the later twentieth century creation of international audiences and markets for non-Anglo-Saxon literatures in English (placing fiction by Arab writers in English in a similar context to that of African, Indian and other non Anglo-Saxon writers in English.) 1 Here it may be relevant to note the profile...
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