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Poetics of Love in the Arabic Novel

Nation-State, Modernity and Tradition

Wen-chin Ouyang

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The Arabic novel has emerged as a major genre in the Arabic literary field since the second half of the twentieth century. Gaber Asfour, a major Egyptian intellectual and critic, has termed the turn of the twenty-first century 'the age of the novel' in Arab culture. This book tells the story of the Arabic novel's search for form, taking stock of the ways in which the form and identity politics of this genre engage with aesthetics, ethics and politics in a cross-cultural context and from a transnational perspective.

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Table of Contents
Presenting the Past: the Arabic Novel and Dialectics of Modernisation
1. Cross-Cultural Genealogy
2. Postcolonial Identity Politics
3. Cultural Politics of Modernisation
4. Quest for Legitimacy
5. Reviving Tradition, Rewriting History
6. Triangulation of Nation, Modernity and Tradition
Part I
Mapping the Nation: Place, Space, Text
Chapter One
1. Textual Nation
2. Imagining of Community and Politics of Space
3. The Imagined Community that is the Nation-State
Chapter Two
1. Topography of Statelessness
2. Stateless Nation
3. Politics of Mobility
4. Mobility Under Occupation
5. Cartography of Woman's Body
Part II
Love: Legitimacy of the Nation, Authenticity of the Novel
Chapter Three
Legitimacy of the Nation
1. For the Love of a Nation
2. Problematique of Nation and State
3. Authenticity of the Novel
4. Allegorising the Imagining of Nation
5. Rehabilitation of Power
6. Legimitmacy of Political Authority
7. Coherence of Community
8. Ethics of Rule
Chapter Four
Impropriety of the State
1. Code of Conduct for the Ruler and Ruled
2. Social Climbing
3. Sexual Misconduct
4. Affairs of the State
5. Education of the Nation
6. Narration of Nation
Part III
Desire: Arab Experiences of Modernity
Chapter Five
1. 'All That is Solid Melts into Air'
2. The Journey in Eliot's Poetic Vision
3. The Seven Voyages of Sindbad
4. Modern Knowledge
5. Allure of the Modern
6. Intellectual in Exile
7. Fragmentation of Selfhood
8. Decolonisation of the Subject
9. Quest for Cohesion in an Apocalyptic World
Chapter Six
1. Spiritual Autobiography
2. The Architect of Modernisation
3. The Politics of Desire in the Arabic Novel
4. The Poetics of Love in Palace of Desire
5. Cairo Modern
6. Architecture of the Arabic Novel
Politics of the Past

About the Author

Wen-chin Ouyang is a Reader in Arabic Literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies. She was born in Taiwan, raised in Libya and educated in the United States. She is the author of Literary Criticism in Medieval Arabic-Islamic Culture (1997) and numerous articles on the Arabic novel, The 1001 Nights, and classical Arabic prose writing. She co-edited New Perspectives on the Arabian Nights: Ideological Variations and Narrative Horizons (2005), Companion to Magical Realism (2005), and The Novelization of Islamic Literatures, Comparative Critical Studies 4: 3 (2007).