Anglophone Arab Autobiography and the Postcolonial Middle East: Najla Said and Hisham Matar

Chapter Title

Anglophone Arab Autobiography and the Postcolonial Middle East: Najla Said and Hisham Matar

Files

Department

English & Comparative Literature Department

Description

A prominent device assumed by the contemporary Anglophone Arab memoir is that of the ‘return narrative’. This chapter focuses on Palestinian-American author Najla Said’s Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab American Family and London-based Libyan novelist Hisham Matar’s The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between. Looking for Palestine and The Return represent a new form of transnational literature that explicitly seeks to cut across the Orientalised circuits of literary and cultural exchange by which memoirs from the Arab world are typically written, published and read. They trace personal and political trajectories that draw attention to the Middle East of the twenty-first century and that explore the dynamics of return in this rapidly changing context. By closely attending to these memoirs of return, I aim in this chapter to reveal how the genre of Anglophone Arab autobiography engages established networks of literary transmission and reception, and, in so doing, sheds new light on the Middle East.

Publication Date

2018

Document Type

Book Chapter

Book Title

The Edinburgh Companion to the Postcolonial Middle East

Editors

Karim Mattar and Anna Ball

ISBN

9781474427685

Publisher

Edinburgh University Press

City

Edinburgh

First Page

349

Last Page

361

Keywords

Anglophone Arab autobiography, memoir, postcolonial Middle East, return, transnational literature

Disciplines

Arabic Language and Literature

Anglophone Arab Autobiography and the Postcolonial Middle East: Najla Said and Hisham Matar

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