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Title:Women's Voices in Arabic, French, and English Salons: Literary Impacts
Author(s):Al-Abbasi, Thoraya AbdulWahab
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jost, Francois
Department / Program:Comparative and World Literature
Discipline:Comparative and World Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Abstract:This study presents the voices of women in classical Arabic literature and the literature of eighteenth century France and England. It compares women as writers and sponsors of salons during two different periods of world history.
In these periods, women enjoyed the same kind of recognition and fame as men. They also possessed a considerable degree of social and literary freedom. Their homes were centers of intellectual and literary activities, frequented by the best poets of the day. In the eighteenth century, French and English women found the hostessing of salons to be a valuable way to make their mark on their intellectual world.
The output of these remarkable women was of different natures. In Arabia, women did not have to struggle to obtain their rights; they were bestowed on them by the law of Islam. Poetry was the most significant form of Arabic literature. Arab women writers composed poetry to express their emotions to lovers or relatives. In France and England, because of frequent societal prejudice against women as writers, many found the epistolary genre convenient for expressing their thoughts. Unlike their Arab counterparts, French and English women writers often filled their letters with criticisms of their societies. Through literature, they attempted to establish their legitimate rights in social, political, economic, and literary areas.
In all three societies the salons played an important role in women's literary output. Arab women turned their verses into an intellectual and literary exercise. Written poetry, for them, was an extension of the poetic conversations of their salons. In France and England, the conversations tended to the literary and philosophical. Even the fictional letters written by the hostesses reflected the nature of the salon conversations. They used the form perfectly to serve their purpose, demanding changes in society. One must be impressed by the zeal and genius shown by women in all these societies not only in terms of conducting their circles, but also in terms of their talent in conversing in a literate and intellectual way with men of high culture. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
Issue Date:1988
Description:312 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823069
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1988

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