Fiction and Colonial Identities

  • Samah Selim
Part of the Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World book series (LCIW)


This chapter explores the first Arabic translation (1909) of Maurice Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Cambrioleur novellas as the instance of a major formal shift in the Arab narrative genre system that emerges in creative tension with changing regimes of personhood in colonial Egypt. Selim shows how ʿAbd al-Qadir Hamza’s translation interlaces the narrative modes of medieval popular genres (the sira) into Leblanc’s ironic, post-novelistic detective fiction to produce an Arabic text that can be read as a challenge to the fixed and stable construction of identity necessary to both the colonial police state and nahdawi reformism.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samah Selim
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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