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Religion in the Egyptian Novel$
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Christina Phillips

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474417068

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417068.001.0001

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Feminist Perspectives

Feminist Perspectives

(p.219) 8 Feminist Perspectives
Religion in the Egyptian Novel

Christina Phillips

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores feminist engagements with religion in works by Nawal Sa’dawi and Salwa Bakr. It reads Sa’dawi’s Suqut al-Imam (1987) and Jannat wa Iblis (1992) as feminist dystopias which employ unconventional narrative techniques to augment the dystopic effect and take issue with the founding texts of monotheism as historic vehicles for female oppression. It discusses Salwa Bakr’s rehabilitation of Zulaykha in Wasf al-Bulbul (1993) and explores Al-ʿAraba al-Dhahibiyya la Tasʿad ila al-Samaʾ (1991) by the same author as a critique of religion via the trope of madness, paying attention to how religion, as belief, custom, institution and law, is implicated in the plight of women in the text. The discussion also takes in the Alifa Rifʿat’s stories as a rare example of Islamic literature admitted to the canon. Each of these four chapters begins with a contextual introduction.

Keywords:   Nawal Sa’dawi, Salwa Bakr, Alifa Rif’at, Feminist literature, Dystopia, Islamic literature, Al-adab al-islami

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