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Space in Modern Egyptian Fiction$
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Yasmine Ramadan

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474427647

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474427647.001.0001

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Re-imagining the Rural: The Mystical and the Mythical

Re-imagining the Rural: The Mystical and the Mythical

(p.116) 3 Re-imagining the Rural: The Mystical and the Mythical
Space in Modern Egyptian Fiction

Yasmine Ramadan

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter Three centers around works by Abd al-Hakim Qasim, Yahya Taher Abdullah, and Yusuf al-Qaid. Here we move to the villages of the Delta and Upper Egypt, the latter appearing in Egyptian novels for the first time. These novels are read in opposition to the social realist works of the previous generation, with their concentration upon the countryside as the space of revolutionary struggle and political mobilization. The rural here is transformed into a space of suffering and degradation, in which the villagers struggle to contend with the difficulties of their daily life. The village is thus represented as mystical and mythical space, with the writers employing literary techniques from fantastic literature and magical realism, in order to represent the ongoing marginalization of the Egyptian village and its separation from the rest of the nation. These works of fiction are situated within the broader socio-economic context of the period, particularly Abdel Nasser’s agricultural reforms begun in the 1950s. The failure of the policies is reflected in the literary output of the generation, who grappled to come to terms with the continued marginalization and exclusion of the Egyptian village.

Keywords:   Rural, Mystical, Mythical, Abd al-Hakim Qasim, Yahya Taher Abdullah, Yusuf al-Qaid, Village

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