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Minorities in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel$
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Mary Youssef

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474415415

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474415415.001.0001

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Historical Transformations: Framing a New Consciousness in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel

Historical Transformations: Framing a New Consciousness in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Historical Transformations: Framing a New Consciousness in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel
Source:
Minorities in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel
Author(s):

Mary Youssef

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474415415.003.0001

The author links the purview of the “new-consciousness” novel to Edward Said’s conceptualization of “decentered consciousness,” a term he uses to describe postcolonial cultural and intellectual efforts that aim at disrupting constituencies and ideologies of dominance and essentialism. Following a historical approach to understanding the emergence of novelistic genres, this chapter reviews the historical conditions surrounding the production of several Egyptian novels—from Muhammad Husayn Haykal’s Zaynab to what Sabry Hafez calls the “New Egyptian Novel” of the 1990s—to exhibit how the novel, in responding to its historical moment, defies definitional stability due to the dialectical process of historical change. The socio-political and cultural context underlying the rise of the new-consciousness novel is similarly analyzed to detect the homologies and disjunctures it has with its antecedent counterparts as well as highlight its new distinct and cohesive semantic and formal features of heteroglossia and what it achieves as a corpus.

Keywords:   Historical Change, Genre, Minor Literature, Decentered Consciousness, Edward Said, Sabry Hafez, Heteroglossia, Literary History, Critical Establishment, Egyptian Novel

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