The subject of autobiography has been a dominant theme in literary theory and criticism in recent years. As a consequence, the parameters of what does or does not constitute autobiography in literature have been greatly extended.
This volume presents the results of the latest research on this subject by leading experts on modern Arabic literature from Europe and the Arab world. As such, it questions the view that autobiography has not been central to the literary tradition of the Arabs, a view which seems to suggest that autobiography is the preserve of West European Renaissance Man or Woman and their descendants.
The chapters cover a broad spectrum of autobiographical material and range in time from the seventeenth century to the present day. They include travelogues as a category of autobiographical writing, as well as a wide variety of the more traditional retrospective prose histories of the self.
One of the Arab world’s leading novelists, Edwar al-Kharrat, gives a personal account of fiction and autobiography; and novels, drama and poetry are all considered within the book’s overall theme. Women writers and Palestinian authors are also given due consideration.
Writing the Self is a provocative re-evaluation of the theory and practice of autobiography in modern Arabic literature and beyond.
About the Contributors
Ed de Moor is reader in Arabic literature at the University of Nijmegen. He is the editor of Orientations, the annual publication of the Dutch Association for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.
Robin Ostle is fellow and tutor in modern Arabic at St John's College, Oxford. He is an authority on modern Arabic poetry and modern Egyptian literature and art. He is a founding editor of the Journal of Arabic and Middle Eastern Literatures.
Stefan Weber is professor of Islamic studies at the University of Bonn. He is the editor-in-chief of Die Welt des Islams and has published extensively on modern Arabic prose and poetry.
'A compilation of studies that mesh together in a satisfying way ... innumerable illuminating details of information, observation and analysis.'
Catherine Cobham, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies