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Feminism and Avant-Garde Aesthetics in the Levantine Novel

Feminism and Avant-Garde Aesthetics in the Levantine Novel REVIEW Kifah Hanna New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016 198 pages. ISBN 9781137548702 Reviewed by RENÉE MICHELLE RAGIN Kifah Hanna’s Feminism and Avant-Garde Aesthetics in the Levantine Novel offers seri- alized readings of Arabic novels by Ghada al-Samman, Sahar Khalifeh, and Huda Barakat, whose fiction portrays war’s destruction of oppositional gender relations and constructs in the Arab world. Hanna locates the birth of an “interstitial Levantine feminism” in these works (5). She situates them at the very moment in which Arabic literary works were reconsidering the “gender politics” of Lebanese and Palestinian nationalisms (126). The result, she argues, is a political feminism informed by an ethos of relationality. In her first chapter, “The Vicious Cycle: Contemporary Literary Feminisms in the Mashriq,” Hanna argues that the political upheavals of the 1950s and 1960s produced a second, more political wave of Arab literary feminism (the first wave came in the 1930s) that interwove concerns with gender and nationalism. These mid-twentieth-century movements destabilized traditional conceptions of nation and homeland and notions of virile Palestinian and Lebanese masculinities. Hanna argues that the works of Samman, Khalifeh, and Barakat spoke into the vacuums created by these disruptions and, in so doing, challenged orthodox nationalist representations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Middle East Women's Studies Duke University Press

Feminism and Avant-Garde Aesthetics in the Levantine Novel

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Copyright
Copyright © 2019 by the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies
ISSN
1552-5864
eISSN
1558-9579
DOI
10.1215/15525864-7273734
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

REVIEW Kifah Hanna New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016 198 pages. ISBN 9781137548702 Reviewed by RENÉE MICHELLE RAGIN Kifah Hanna’s Feminism and Avant-Garde Aesthetics in the Levantine Novel offers seri- alized readings of Arabic novels by Ghada al-Samman, Sahar Khalifeh, and Huda Barakat, whose fiction portrays war’s destruction of oppositional gender relations and constructs in the Arab world. Hanna locates the birth of an “interstitial Levantine feminism” in these works (5). She situates them at the very moment in which Arabic literary works were reconsidering the “gender politics” of Lebanese and Palestinian nationalisms (126). The result, she argues, is a political feminism informed by an ethos of relationality. In her first chapter, “The Vicious Cycle: Contemporary Literary Feminisms in the Mashriq,” Hanna argues that the political upheavals of the 1950s and 1960s produced a second, more political wave of Arab literary feminism (the first wave came in the 1930s) that interwove concerns with gender and nationalism. These mid-twentieth-century movements destabilized traditional conceptions of nation and homeland and notions of virile Palestinian and Lebanese masculinities. Hanna argues that the works of Samman, Khalifeh, and Barakat spoke into the vacuums created by these disruptions and, in so doing, challenged orthodox nationalist representations.

Journal

Journal of Middle East Women's StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2019

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