Beyond Occidentalism: Europe and the Self in Present-day Arabic Narrative Discourse
Title: Beyond Occidentalism: Europe and the Self in Present-day Arabic Narrative Discourse
Author: CASINI, Lorenzo
Series/Report no.: EUI RSCAS; 2008/30; Mediterranean Programme Series
The paper deals with the theme of the representation of Europe in present-day Arabic narrative discourse. In the first part, which is mainly theoretical, the notion of Occidentalism is defined with particular reference to the concept of “the political unconscious” elaborated by the American literary theorist Fredric Jameson. After a brief discussion of some Egyptian narrative works that exemplify Occidentalist representations of Europe, the paper centres around a new tendency emerged in the Arabic narrative output of the 90s where the relationship between the definition of the Self and the representation of Europe appears inverted with respect to Occidentalism. In order to examine this tendency, the paper carries out a textual analysis of two recent novels by the distinguished Egyptian author Baha Taher: al-Ḥubb fi-l Manfā (Love in Exile, 1995), and Wāḥat al-Ghurūb (The Sunset Oasis, 2006: awarded the International Prize for Arabic Literature 2008).
Subject: Occidentalism; Arabic Literature; Arab identity; Baha Taher
Type of Access: openAccess