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Title: A critical study of traditional themes in modern Egyptian drama
Author: Shiha, Abdel-Hamid Ibrahim
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1982
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There is a growing realization that drama, since it first appeared In the mid-nineteenth century in Arabic literature as an imported genre from the West, has come a long way to identify Itself with the past cultural tradition of the Arabs. The aim of this thesis is to examine the rise of traditional themes which over the years have come to constitute an important part of modern Egyptian drama. In order to explain this process and its manifold phases of development the study has been projected in eight chapters. The first two chapters provide the general background to this thesis. Firstly, I deal with the dramatic elements in the literary tradition to be found in the maqamat and shadow plays in the heritage of Arabic drama in Egypt. Secondly, I present a general view of Modern Arabic literature, during the revivalist movement that was motivated by political and national considerations. Against this setting, I have dealt with the appearance of drama and the pioneering efforts made to establish it on the firm ground of tradition as well as the reasons for doing so. This early phase reached its climax in the poetic drama of the important poet Ahmad Shawqi, whose contribution as a dramatist has been evaluated through a critical analysis of one of his best dramatic works. It emerges from this study that Shawqi represents the natural mid-way link between the early attempts and later phase of the full flowering of Arabic drama. In the fourth chapter I have focussed my attention on Tawfiq al-Hakim as the dominant figure in Arabic drama up to now. Three major plays have been examined thoroughly in order to trace the influence of the Areb-Islamic tradition upon his drama, and to stress the natural and artistic fusion of certain elements blended from two seemingly incompatible cultures: the Occidental and the Oriental. The fifth chapter is concerned with an evaluation of the changes that occurred in modern Arabic poetry in order to meet the needs of drama. This is followed by two chapters which trace the impact of tradition on the themes of Arabic verse drama. The first deals with the Sufi tradition as revealed in one of the plays of Salah Abd al-Sabur, a prominent poet of the new movement of Arabic poetry. The second shows how a traditional historical narrative serves the theme of rebellion in one of the plays of Abd al-Rahman al-Sharqawi, a writer with socialist affiliations. Finally, Chapter Eight provides a critical assessment of the works studied above, and a discussion of some of the major problems facing Arabic drama in Egypt today. To this has been added an Appendix containing the resolutions and recommendations of The Arabic Theatre Conference, held in Damascus in 1973, under the auspices of the Organization of Education, Culture and Sciences, of The Arab League.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral