My book is out!

I set up this blog way back in 2012 as a way to store my notes and various thoughts as I was researching, wanting to be able to write informally and quickly and to have my posts tagged in an easily accessible way.

The posts dwindled as I focused on the writing of the dissertation, and then began teaching, and then began the process of turning the dissertation into a book. But now the book is finally here, available to purchase and hopefully loan from libraries.

I am not sure where this blog will go in the future. Now that I am in academic job hunting mode, any writing which is not directly related to academic publications seems like a luxury, if not an outright waste of scarce research time. But I decided to keep the blog open for now, despite my now sadly very sporadic posts, in the hope that I will at some point have the time to write more and maybe take it in a new direction.

Anyway, back to the book!

Here is a summary of the contents:

This book offers an in-depth engagement with the growing body of Anglophone Arab fiction in the context of theoretical debates around memory and identity. Against the critical tendency to dismiss nostalgia as a sentimental trope of immigrant narratives, Qutait sheds light on the creative uses to which it is put in the works of Rabih Alameddine, Ahdaf Soueif, Hisham Matar, Leila Aboulela, Randa Jarrar, Rawi Hage, and others.

Arguing for the necessity of theorising cultural memory beyond Eurocentric frameworks, the book demonstrates how Arab novelists writing in English draw on nostalgia as a touchstone of Arabic literary tradition from pre-Islamic poetry to the present. Qutait situates Anglophone Arab fiction within contentious debates about the place of the past in the Arab world, tracing how writers have deployed nostalgia as an aesthetic strategy to deal with subject matter ranging from the Islamic golden age, the era of anti-colonial struggle, the failures of the postcolonial state and of pan-Arabism, and the perennial issue of the diaspora’s relationship to the homeland.

Making a contribution to the transnational turn in memory studies while focusing on a region underrepresented in this field, this book will be of interest for researchers interested in cultural memory, postcolonial studies and the literatures of the Middle East.

The image on the cover is of a hajj caravan travelling from Egypt to Mecca.

Here is some more information on the image.

See this link for more information on the book.

2 thoughts on “Nostalgia in Anglophone Arab Literature

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