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Title: From the individual to the collective in the writings of Radwa Ashour and Ahdaf Soueif
Author: Al Sahib, May
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 8727
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2019
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The past forty years of Egypt's history have been characterized by political oppression, deterioration of social structure and waves of uprisings in what could be considered an era of competing visions of Egyptian self-governance. This situation has prompted a number of writers of Jil el-thawra (the generation of the revolution) of 1952 to advocate for a collective outlook to combat national uncertainty. A great number of the writers of this generation have also lived through the 2011 revolution. Amongst these writers are Radwa Ashour and Ahdaf Soueif, who in their works construct a counter-narrative of Egyptian political hegemony that this thesis will bring to bear on Ayman El-Desouky's explication of amāra. The pre-revolutionary fictional works examined in the thesis deploy a narrative practice akin to what Fredric Jameson terms 'national allegory'. In focusing on the individual's part in the nation in their fictional works, Ashour and Soueif bridge the gap between the individual and the collective in a form of life writing that has been termed the 'Tahrir memoir'. What Ashour and Soueif create are multi-layered literary narratives that actively fuse history, politics, and literature in investigating Egypt, Palestine, and the Arab world. Through experimentation with literary forms, their works claim a new public space by embracing the duty of voicing truth to power. This project examines eight primary texts from their fictional and non-fictional works that critique political authoritarianism and voice social concerns through exploration and expression of selfhood, historical representations, and collective memory, maintaining their generation's ethos of carrying a fundamental message of hope. The writers' endeavour to re-envision the history of their nation argues for a public space in which they can, as female intellectuals, equally assert themselves as part of Egypt's community.
Supervisor: Rooney, Caroline R. ; Abu Mennah, Bashir Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania