Dystopian Literary Channels Between Arabic And Western Literature

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2020-08-01T05:00:00.000Z

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Abstract

In this dissertation, I seek to reveal a double-edged aspect of Arabic dystopian fiction, namely, how it manifests Western influence and engages with the status quo in several Middle Eastern and North African countries. The dystopian novel is a relatively new development in Arabic literature, having emerged as a result of recent events, such as the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the waves of Arab Spring, which hit many regions in the Arab-speaking world, starting in the late of 2010 and continuing until now. I argue that this genre has arisen partly due to its roots in the translation of Western classical dystopian fiction and partly due to its relevance to the ongoing state of affairs in many parts of the Arab-speaking world. In a post-colonial context, this genre is both borrowed from the West to confront bitter realities as well as to critique the Western hegemony, given that it comprises of both colonial and anti-colonial elements in its dynamic manifestation. I also attempt to demonstrate how literature as such changes and transforms as it moves between languages and cultures. In addition, translation plays a crucial role in influencing and spreading Arabic dystopian novels. In this vein, translation serves a two-edged sword: 1)- as a means of incorporating Western ideology on Arabic literature; and 2) as a part of an intellectual movement that protests against ongoing circumstances and the hegemonic power of the West. Therefore, the double refraction of Arabic dystopian fiction is not merely an index of Western reflection, but also a tool of resistance against Western hegemony, thus calling for a new era of independence.

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Literature, General, Literature, Middle Eastern, Literature, Comparative

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