Arab Representations of the Occident: East-West Encounters in Arabic Fiction
ARAB REPRESENTATIONS OF THE OCCIDENT – Book Sample
About the Book – ARAB REPRESENTATIONS OF THE OCCIDENT
Arab Representations of the Occident-This book explores Arab responses to Western culture and values as expressed through works of fiction and non-fiction written by Arab authors during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It constitutes an original addition to the perennial East–West debate, and is particularly relevant to the current discussion on Islam and the West.
Arab Representations of the Occident might be seen as the reverse study of Edward Said’s famous Orientalism. If Orientalism, according to Said, provided the conceptual framework, the intellectual justification for the appropriation of the Orient through colonialism, ‘Occidentalism’ – if one may use this label to indicate Arab conceptualisations of the West – tells a different story.
It is a story, not about the appropriation of the land of the West, but its very soul. And if Orientalism was about the denigration, and the subjugation of the Oriental Other, much of Occidentalism has been about the idealisation of the Western Other, the desire to become the Other, or at least to become like the Other. This book – the first book on the subject in English – explores this process through examining representations of the West, or of the self and other in Arabic fictive and quasi-fictive writing.
Rasheed El-Enany, Professor of Modern Arabic literature at the University of Exeter, researches into all genres and aspects of modern Arabic literature: fiction, drama, poetry, as well as literary criticism.
He is interested particularly in the study of literature as a system of thought with an attitude towards the philosophical and socio-political issues of human life. He has written extensively on the Arabic language’s leading novelist and Nobel laureate, Naguib Mahfouz. His previous publications include: Naguib Mahfouz: the Pursuit of Meaning (also published by Routledge) and a translation of Mahfouz’s novel, Respected Sir.
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