By Valerie Anishchenkova
This unique exploration of Arab autobiographical discourse investigates numerous modes of cultural id that have emerged in Arab societies within the final forty years. in this interval, autobiographical texts moved clear of exemplary existence narratives and towards extra unorthodox thoughts comparable to erotic memoir writing, postmodernist self-fragmentation, cinematographic self-projection and running a blog. Valerie Anishchenkova argues that the Arabic autobiographical style has advanced right into a cellular, unrestricted type arming authors with narrative instruments to articulate their selfhood.
Reading works from Arab international locations reminiscent of Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Syria and Lebanon, Anishchenkova connects the century's swift political and ideological advancements to expanding autobiographical experimentation in Arabic works. The big scope of her examine additionally forces attention of movie and on-line varieties of self-representation and builds a brand new theoretical framework for those modes of autobiographical cultural construction.
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Additional info for Autobiographical Identities in Contemporary Arab Culture
Most importantly, Arab conventional autobiography introduced and 22 | autobi og ra phi ca l id e n titie s isseminated a particular mode of narrative identity: a clearly delineated cond ception of self, in many ways comparable to the Western notion of the universal subject. In these early autobiographies, the I of the narrator was formulated as a self-defined, self-knowing, and static construct. Among the important attributes of the identity-making process in these works is a particular focus on human intellect and spirituality.
There is a circulating Paul Bowles English version of Shukri’s autobiographical narrative al-Khubz al-Óāfī titled For Bread Alone, however, I chose not to use Bowles translation as it presents a number of substantial divergences with the Arabic text which I find problematic. 9. One should point out, however, that as early as 1951 Carl Brockelmann argued that Arabic medieval literature produced various autobiographies, in which list he included Al-Ghazali, Usamah Ibn Munqidh, and Umarah of Yaman (Brockelmann 1951).
In this book, I explore the cinematic modality of autobiographical transmission in the example of Youssef Chahine’s (Yusuf Shahin) Alexandrian Trilogy. Among other things, film expanded the notion of the autobiographical author and autobiographical reader, and highlighted the non-verbal aspects of one’s selfhood. I imagine that the audiovisual mode of autobiographical narration will only continue to grow, taking into consideration the expansion of the TV culture, Internet streaming videos (such as YouTube), independent filmmaking, and the general accessibility of currently available video-capturing technology.
Autobiographical Identities in Contemporary Arab Culture by Valerie Anishchenkova