Fiction and Autobiography by Arab Writers in English
Chapter 1 Connections and Disconnections: From Arabic to English
The pattern of Maghrebi fiction in French in the first half of the twentieth century has already been touched upon in the introduction. Although debate as to its worth is still current, the influence of the colonial context clearly has a bearing on how it is viewed. Joan Phyllis Monego argues for the limitations of native Maghrebi writers of this period in grasping ‘many subtleties of the imported art form and [...] the finer parts of structure and form. Even the Western way of thinking was alien to them. In content too the works of the native writers were restricted.’ Written for a French-reading public as these texts clearly were, they often ‘emphasized the ethnographic and folk- loric aspects of North Africa thereby appealing to the Frenchman’s yearning for the exotic’ (Monego: 1984, p. 17). I would argue that this pitfall is not limited to bilingual writers of the colonial period alone: the temptation to import Orientalist tropes into their fiction has also faced Anglophone novelists working in postcolonial moments and environments. I intend to approach the issue of these Arab writers’ conversancy with the European novel form and the ease with which they were able to compose in a European language from a slightly dif- ferent perspective. In the case of the first Anglophone Arab writers in English, these, in comparison with the Maghrebi writers who had been educated in French rather than Arabic, often possessed a superior grasp of Arabic literary language and forms. To what extent then do...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.