Reading List

This seminar proposes to introduce a group of teachers to the literature of the Arab World through the study of examples of the modern Arabic novel and therefrom of other literary genres. I have selected these six particular novels also because each can be seen as addressing itself to a particular topic.

Al-Tayyib Salih, Season of Migration to the North, Washington: Three Continents Press.

Season of Migration to the North is set in the Sudan and England. It is a wonderful study of the cultural ambivalence which results when a brilliant young Sudanese student is educated in England and then returns to his homeland.

Najib Mahfuz, Miramar: Doubleday.

Ibrahim al-Kuni, The Bleeding of Stone, Interlink.

Hanan al-Shaykh, The Story of Zahra, New York: Doubleday.

The Story of Zahra provides one of the most graphic accounts of the civil strife in Lebanon in the 1980s. It is also one of the frankest statements yet by a modern Arab woman of total disgust and dissatisfaction with the mores and customs of Middle Eastern society.

Emil Habibi, The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist, Massachusetts: Interlink Books.

The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist is a wonderfully sardonic account by a Palestinian living in Israel (a former member of the Knesset) not only explores the absurdities of daily life in the Arab community in Israel. Through its picaresque qualities, it also allows for a direct link to be established with the early fictional genres of the Arabic classical heritage.

Muhammad Barrada, The Game of Forgetting, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.

Supplementary readings will be taken from:

Modern Arabic Poetry: an anthology, ed. S. Jayyusi, New York: Columbia University Press, 1987.

Desert Tracings trans. Michael Sells, Middletown, Ct.: Wesleyan University Press, 1989.

Egyptian Short Stories trans. Denys Johnson-Davies, Washington: Three Continents Press, 1978.

Above is a listing of the books that you will need for the seminar. In the age of AMAZON and other sources, many of you may wish to order your own copies in advance of the Seminar itself (although some of the titles may not show up even on AMAZON). A major source for most of these titles is: INTERLINK BOOKS in Massachusetts If you would prefer that we order these titles for you, please let me know by e-mail or US Mail and we will make them available for purchase through our university bookstore.

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