The book locates questions of languages, genre, textuality and canonicity within a historical and theoretical framework that foregrounds the emergence of modern nationalism in Egypt. The ways in which the cultural discourses produced by twentieth century Egyptian nationalism created a space for both a hegemonic and counter-hegemonic politics of language, class and place that inscribed a bifurcated narrative and social geography, are examined. The book argues that the rupture between the village and the city contained in the Egyptian nationalism discourse is reproduced as a narrative dislocation that has continued to characterize and shape the Egyptian novel in general and the village novel in particular. Reading the village novel in Egypt as a dynamic intertext that constructs modernity in a local historical and political context rather than rehearsing a simple repetition of dominant European literary-critical paradigms, this book offers a new approach to the construction of modern Arabic literary history as well as to theoretical questions related to the structure and role of the novel as a worldly narrative genre.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Peasant and Modern Narrative in Egypt 1. The Garrulous Peasant: Za'qub Sannu', Addullah al-Nadim and the Construction of the Fallah in Early Drama and Dialogue 2. Novels and Nations 3. Foundations: Pastoral and Anti-Pastoral 4. The Politics of Reality: Realism, Neo-Realism and the Village Novel 5. The Land 6. The Exiled Son 7. The Storyteller Conclusion
Samah Selim is professor of modern Arabic Literature at Princeton University. Her main research interests are 19th and 20th century fiction in Egypt and the Levant.