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Title: Modern Arabic literature between the nation and the world : the bilingual singularity of Kahlil Gibran
Author: Arslane, Ghazouane
ISNI:       0000 0004 9355 3498
Awarding Body: Queen Mary University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis argues that the bilingual literary oeuvre of Kahlil Gibran (Jubrān Khalil Jubrān), the Arab Mahjari (immigrant) writer (1883-1931), is marked by a singularity that is irreducible to biographical and culturalist approaches. This singularity, drawing on Derek Attridge, signifies the inexhaustible alterity and creative difference of his bilingual texts that my reading attempts to analyse and do justice to by focusing on their universal and national dimensions, complementary albeit not without tensions. This interpretation begins from the premise that Gibran’s anglophone works should be read as Arab world literature. This ethics of reading, and this methodological perspective, is adopted because the Gibranian text is marked and fissured by a bilingual movement that enabled the creative possibility of writing in English and obscured its textual visibility in (Euro)-America. My argument develops in four distinct but inter-laced directions. First, I read Gibran’s poetic enterprise in both languages as a universal endeavour to reinvent the religious in and against modernity – and the Arab Nahḍa/Awakening. Second, I focus on the discursive chasm that his bilingual movement produces, which nevertheless binds the particular and the universal. Third, I highlight Gibran’s critical writings vis-à-vis the question of Syrian nationhood and the Arab Nahḍa, a crucial facet of his work as intellectual. And finally, I turn to the problematic reception of his anglophone works in the U.S. (especially) and in the Arab world, to underscore the conditions of this reception and interrogate what is rendered (in)visible by it. As an attempt to read Gibran’s bilingual texts hospitably and critically, this thesis performs – and proposes – an ethics of reading that attends to the distinctness of modern Arabic literature, with Gibran as illustrative example, in its creative and problematic movement between the nation and the world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available