Gender Dialectics: Hudā Barakāt’s Aesthetics of Androgyny

  • Kifah Hanna
Part of the Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World book series (LCIW)


Like Ghādah al-Sammān and Saḥar Khalīfeh, the Lebanese writer Hudā Barakāt is deeply invested in questions of gender and sexuality during times of war and national crisis in the Levant. Further, she shares their inclination toward unconventional serialization. Recalling al-Sammān’s Beirut tetralogy and Khalīfeh’s West Bank series, her novels Ḥajar al-Ḍaḥik (The Stone of Laughter , 1990), Ahl al-Hawā (Disciples of Passion, 1993), Ḥārith al-Mīyah (The Tiller of Waters, 1998), and Sayyidī wā Ḥabībī (My Master, My Lover, 2004) neither develop linearly nor return to the same characters, yet they constitute a series that cumulatively explores a mutual set of social, political, and cultural themes.1 It is precisely these themes, though, that distinguishes Barakāt from her peers. While on the one hand al-Sammān and Khalīfeh address male identity and subjectivity primarily as a foil to their more pressing emphasis on Levantine women, Barakāt, on the other, chooses to position the male psyche as central to her intricate investigations of the human in response to trauma and violence. Focalized around marginalized male anti-heroes as embodiments of the contradictions of gender and sexuality during the Lebanese civil war, her novels, by necessity of this thematic, employ a surrealist rather than an existentialist or critical realist aesthetic, another distinguishing feature of her work.


Sexual Identity Arabic Literature National Crisis Male Protagonist Homosexual Inclination 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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