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Title:Two Plays by the Islamic Dramatist, Ali Ahmad Bakathir Translated Into English With Critical Commentary
Author(s):Hamid, Mohamed AbuBakr
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hobgood, Burnet M.
Department / Program:Theatre
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Middle Eastern
Abstract:Arab dramatists are still largely unknown, particularly in the U.S.A. This dissertation is a step partially to fill that gap through the translation and critical study of two plays by Ali Ahmad Bakathir (1908-1969), one of the most original Arab playwrights. Bakathir was a prolific writer born in Indonesia, brought up in S. Yemen (his original home) and then lived and died in Egypt. Bakathir contributed influentially to modern Arabic literature in several literary genres; drama, poetry, and the novel. In addition to his great sum of poetry, he wrote more than sixty plays, six novels, many one-act plays and short stories. Bakathir's study of English literature, and of Shakespeare in particular, guided him to some of the innovations he pioneered in Arabic literature such as the use of free verse, which became a medium of later Arabic verse drama. However, Bakathir wrote the majority of his plays in prose, which stemmed from his belief that drama could be poetical without the restrictions of meter.
In fact, it was Bakathir's commitment to Islamic ideology throughout his entire life which made his unique among his contemporary Arab dramatists; his works were dedicated to representing the Islamic ideology in all aspects of life. His artistic mission was to establish firmly Islamic drama in the field of Arabic literature.
The author is not aware of any plays by Bakathir which have been translated and published in English, nor of any critical study written in the United States specializing in his dramatic works. Like most modern Arab dramatists, Bakathir is better known in French language studies.
The first play translated in this work is The Secret of Shahrazad (1952) a romance inspired by The Arabian Nights. Bakathir's dramatization is a new interpretation in the light of psychological insight. The second play is Harut and Marut (1962), a moral fantasy represents the Islamic view of man's future in the universe. It makes possible that man can reach other planets and stars, and discover their secrets there as he does on earth. These dramas are among Bakathir's best works in their treatment of great universal themes; hence, they represent two methods in his thought and dramaturgy. They also introduce aspects of Islamic and Arabic culture to the Western reader.
The two translations endeavor to convey in English their original Arabic flavor and intentions. The practice of Bakathir the dramatist reinforces his artistic intention to create moral dramas for Islamic theatre and to offer new conceptualization to contemporary Western drama and criticism.
Issue Date:1988
Description:363 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8908697
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1988

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