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Literature and Nation in the Middle East$
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Yasir Suleiman and Ibrahim Muhawi

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748620739

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748620739.001.0001

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Marginal Literatures of the Middle East

Marginal Literatures of the Middle East

(p.179) 9 Marginal Literatures of the Middle East
Literature and Nation in the Middle East

Peter Clark

Edinburgh University Press

Middle Eastern states are often creations of the twentieth century and from the early part of the century had to assert their own legitimacy, in repudiation of either the Ottoman centuries or the international, economic and technical power of British and French empires. The infancy of the new states coincided with the developments of state control and of propaganda. Within most Middle East states, freedom of expression is curtailed. While the nuances and situation are different from state to state, the experiences of imprisonment, unemployment and exile are common for most writers of the Arab world. This chapter discusses the marginal literatures of the Middle East. It particularly discusses those works written in foreign languages such as English and French, which were first acknowledged and published in foreign and Arab countries other than the Middle East states. While the writers of such works are physically and culturally dislocated, they have asserted Middle Eastern cosmopolitanism in these marginal literatures. It is these literatures that touch on universal themes of change, identity, dislocation and adjustment.

Keywords:   Middle East, marginal literatures, Middle Eastern cosmopolitanism, themes of dislocation, themes of adjustment

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