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Afterword

Women Writing War, a Levantine Outlook
  • Kifah Hanna
Part of the Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World book series (LCIW)

Abstract

In November 1975, Ghadah al-Sammān composed her Beirut Nightmares while trapped in an apartment as her city plunged head-long into the darkness of civil war. In a moment of radical doubt, one of her characters, Maryam a journalist, reflects on the value and utility of her profession, of writing itself, in the face of the violence surrounding her, and she pessimistically concludes that “the pen is powerless to confront a situation like this.”1 Mirroring the author’s own, this scenario perhaps also reflects al-Sammān’s doubts about the literary and the role of the writer as an agent of sociopolitical change. Nevertheless she, like Saḥar Khalīfeh and Hudā Barakāt, continued to write against the crisis, the catastrophe, which, in Walter Benjamin’s phrase, “keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage,” and not only documented its destructive impact upon Lebanese society, but also forged through her literature an ethics of resistance and reconciliation as a groundwork for bridging Lebanon’s divides.2

Keywords

Child Soldier Arab Woman Woman Writer Arabic Literature Political Reconciliation 
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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Notes

  1. 1.
    Ghādah al-Sammān, Beirut Nightmares, trans. Nancy Roberts (London: Quartet Books, 1997), p. 63.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Walter Benjamin, Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn, ed. Hannah Arendt (London: Pimlico, 1999), p. 249.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Miriam Cooke, War’s Other Voices: Women Writers on the Lebanese Civil War (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1996), p. 86.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sahar Khalīfeh, Reflections on the Crisis of the Educated Palestinian Woman in Sahar Khalifeh’s Works. MA Diss. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1983), p. 44.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hoda Barakat, “I Write Against my Hand,” in In the House of Silence: Autobiographical Essays by Arab Women Writers, ed. Fadia Faqir, trans. Shirley Eber and Fadia Faqir (Reading: Garnet Publishing, 1998), p. 46.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Evelyne Accad, Sexuality and War: Literary Masks of the Middle East (New York: New York University Press, 1990), p. 167.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Stefan G. Meyer, The Experimental Arabic Novel: Postcolonial Literary Modernism in the Levant (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2001), p. 144.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Samira Aghacy, Masculine Identity in the Fiction of the Arab East since 1967 (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009), p. 11.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    All three novels of Khalīfeh’s new series are published by Dār al-ādāb in Beirut. Only the first novel of these has been translated into English. See Sahar Khalīfeh, Of Noble Origins, trans. Aida Bamia (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2012). Barakāt’s new novel has not yet been translated. Henceforth, I refer to these novels by their English titles.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Saḥar Mandūr, Mīnā (Bayrūt: Dār al-Ādāb, 2013).Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    See Adania Shibli, Touch, trans. Paula Haydar (Northampton, MA: Clockroot Books, 2010) andGoogle Scholar
  12. Adania Shibli, We are all Equally Far From Love, trans. Paul Starkey (Northampton, MA: Clockroot Books, 2012). For a brief biography of Shibl ī and an overview of her two novels, see http://www.thesusijnagency.com/AdaniaShibli.htm and http://beirut39.blogspot.com/2010/02/this-is-not-interview-with-adania.html.Google Scholar
  13. 17.
    For an excellent discussion of modernism in Palestinian literature, see Joe Cleary, Literature, Partition and the Nation-State: Culture and Conflict in Ireland, Israel and Palestine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 186–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kifah Hanna 2016

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  • Kifah Hanna

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