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Studying Modern Arabic LiteratureMustafa Badawi, Scholar and Critic$
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Roger Allen and Robin Ostle

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748696628

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748696628.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Ataturk Becomes ͑Antar: Nationalist-vernacular Politics and Epic Heroism in 1920s Egypt

Ataturk Becomes ͑Antar: Nationalist-vernacular Politics and Epic Heroism in 1920s Egypt

(p.118) 8 Ataturk Becomes ͑Antar: Nationalist-vernacular Politics and Epic Heroism in 1920s Egypt
Studying Modern Arabic Literature

Marilyn Booth

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the emergence of colloquial Arabic poetry as populist-political commentary in Egypt by offering a reading of Mahmud Bayram al-Tunisi's series of texts, which figured political contestation in the thematic-formal mould of the sira shaʻbiyya. It first provides an overview of the sira shaʻbiyya (folk epic, folk romance) before discussing at least four Bayramic sira compositions, all of which narrate the Turkish–Greek conflict over possession of Asia Minor in the context of postwar intra-European negotiations for neocolonial primacy. The texts, labelled ‘Sira Kemaliyya’, chronicle the conflict between Greece and Turkey in 1919–1922, highlighted by the exploits of Turkish ‘epic hero’ and nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The chapter explains how Bayram manages the duality of heroic posturing as a heavy-handed colonialist tactic versus the effective heroism of Mustafa Kemal.

Keywords:   folk epic, Arabic poetry, Egypt, Mahmud Bayram al-Tunisi, sira shaʻbiyya, folk romance, Sira Kemaliyya, nationalism, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, heroism

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