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Title:The Impact of The Absurd on Modern Arabic Literature: A Study of the Influence of Camus, Ionesco and Beckett (Theater, Ikhlasi, Hakim, Idris, Mahfuz)
Author(s):Fayad, Mona Shafik
Department / Program:Comparative and World Literature
Discipline:Comparative and World Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Literature, Romance
Literature, Middle Eastern
Abstract:One of the most problematic issues in Arabic literature has been the opposition between tajd(')id or innovation, and the two principles which have traditionally governed Arabic literature: turath, or heritage, and asala, roots. Tajd(')id has gradually asserted its own as Arabic literature has adopted new genres and opened up new horizons for Arabic writers.
One such departure is the Absurd. Its introduction into the Arab world in the late fifties was a subject of bitter conflict. The traditionalists completely reject the movement on the basis that it is a foreign import and alien to Arab society. The acculturalists defend the Absurd as reflective of both the overall modernization of the Arab world and of local cultural elements long ignored by Arab critics.
The Absurd in Arabic literature has taken three distinct directions which are modelled on the three Western figures: Camus, Ionesco and Beckett.
Camus established the conceptual framework providing the philosophical basis for the trend. Writers such as Naguib Mahfuz, Muta' al-Safadi, and Hani al-Rahib approach the Absurd from an existentialist point of view and portray the angst and alienation of the individual in an incomprehensible universe.
To Ionesco, Arabic Absurdism owes the introduction of the comical element as well as aspects of Surrealism. Writers such as Sa'as Allah Wannous, Tawfiq al-Hakim and 'Abdul Mun'im Salim display a playful attitude towards time and space and are more concerned with demonstrating the absurdity of rational discourse than with the construction of any systematized world view.
Beckett provides a more grim, nihilistic approach. Though Yusef Idris understands the humor of Beckett and uses it, his final conclusion, as well as that of both Walid Ikhlasi and Riyadh 'Ismat, is overwhelmingly pessimistic.
Though its influence was restricted primarily to the late fifties through the early seventies, the Absurd has played a decisive role in jolting Arabic writing out of the rut of traditional realism into a more experimental conceptualization of the nature of art and literature. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
Issue Date:1986
Description:245 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8701480
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1986

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