Immigrant Narratives: Orientalism and Cultural Translation in Arab American and Arab British Literature

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9780199354979: Immigrant Narratives: Orientalism and Cultural Translation in Arab American and Arab British Literature

Since the work of Edward Said first appeared, countless studies have shown the ways in which Western writers--sometimes unwittingly--participate in the oversimplified East/West dichotomy of Orientalism. Yet no study has considered how writers from the so-called Orient approach this idea. A wide-ranging survey of the vast and diverse world of Anglophone Arab literature, Immigrant Narratives examines the complex ways in which Arab émigrés contend with, resist, and participate in the problems of Orientalism.

Hassan's account begins in the early twentieth century, as he considers the pioneering Lebanese American writers, Ameen Rihani and Kahlil Gibran. The former's seminal novel, The Book of Khalid sought to fuse Arabic and European literary traditions in search of a civilizational synthesis, whereas the latter found success by mixing Hindu, Christian, mystical, and English Romantic ideas into a popular spiritualism. Hassan then considers Arab immigrant life-writing, ranging from autobiographies by George Haddad and Abraham Rihbany to memoirs of exile by the Egyptian-born Leila Ahmed and Palestinian refugees like Fawaz Turki and Edward Said. Hassan considers issues of representation in looking to how Arab immigrant writers like Ramzi Salti and Rabih Alameddine use homosexuality to reflect on Arab typecasting. Ahdaf Soueif's fiction reflects her growing awareness of the politics of reception of Anglophone Arab women writers while Leila Aboulela's fiction, inspired by an immigrant Islamic perspective, depicts the predicament of the Muslim minority in Britain.

Drawing upon postcolonial, translation, and minority discourse theory, Immigrant Narratives investigates how key writers have described their immigrant experiences, acting as mediators and interpreters between cultures, and how they have forged new identities in their adopted countries.

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About the Author:


Waïl S. Hassan is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Tayeb Salih: Ideology and the Craft of Fiction, co-editor of Approaches to Teaching the Works of Naguib Mahfouz, and translator of Abdelfattah Kilito's Thou Shalt Not Speak My Language.

Review:


"With Immigrant Narratives, Wa l Hassan establishes himself as the foremost literary critic of Anglophone Arab literature. Hassan masterfully analyzes the ways in which Arab writers in Britain and the United States have struggled to translate their experiences against the backdrop of conflict and suspicion." --Anouar Majid, author of We Are All Moors: Ending Centuries of Crusades against Muslims and Other Minorities


"Immigrant Narratives is a major new contribution to the study of world literatures in a comparative framework, not only because Hassan deals with a group of writers and texts that he rightly refers to as having 'simply fallen between the disciplinary cracks, ' but also because his modes of analysis and interpretation bring these works into the domain of contemporary criticism, a context within which their trans-cultural significance' becomes all the clearer." --Roger Allen, author of The Arabic Literary Heritage


"With acute sensitivity to cultural, ideologi
"With Immigrant Narratives, Wa?l Hassan establishes himself as the foremost literary critic of Anglophone Arab literature. Hassan masterfully analyzes the ways in which Arab writers in Britain and the United States have struggled to translate their experiences against the backdrop of conflict and suspicion." --Anouar Majid, author of We Are All Moors: Ending Centuries of Crusades against Muslims and Other Minorities


"Immigrant Narratives is a major new contribution to the study of world literatures in a comparative framework, not only because Hassan deals with a group of writers and texts that he rightly refers to as having 'simply fallen between the disciplinary cracks, ' but also because his modes of analysis and interpretation bring these works into the domain of contemporary criticism, a context within which their trans-cultural significance' becomes all the clearer." --Roger Allen, author of The Arabic Literary Heritage


"With acute sensitivity to cultural, ideologi
"As informative as it is provocative...[Hassan] makes an important contribution to the growing library of "ethnic" studies in their most contemporary instance...This study is theoretically inflected, critically informed, and historically grounded. Recommended." --CHOICE


"With Immigrant Narratives, Wail Hassan establishes himself as the foremost literary critic of Anglophone Arab literature. Hassan masterfully analyzes the ways in which Arab writers in Britain and the United States have struggled to translate their experiences against the backdrop of conflict and suspicion." --Anouar Majid, author of We Are All Moors: Ending Centuries of Crusades against Muslims and Other Minorities


"Immigrant Narratives is a major new contribution to the study of world literatures in a comparative framework, not only because Hassan deals with a group of writers and texts that he rightly refers to as having 'simply fallen between the disciplinary cracks, ' but also because his modes of analysis and interpretation bring these works into the domain of contemporary criticism, a context within which their trans-cultural significance' becomes all the clearer." --Roger Allen, author of The Arabic Literary Heritage


"With acute sensitivity to cultural, ideological, commercial, and religious contexts, Hassan brilliantly demonstrates the hegemonic force of, yet diversity of responses to, the politics of Orientalism in more than a century of Anglophone Arab American and Arab British immigrant writing. A wonderful study of the aesthetics and politics of cultural translation that is enriched by Hassan's knowledge of Arabic literatures, Immigrant Narratives will be of enduring value to scholars of American and British culture as well as Middle East studies." --Malini Johar Schueller, author of U.S.Orientalisms: Race, Nation, and Gender in Literature, 1790-1890


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