Two Perspectives on the ‘Other’ in Arabic Literature

Pierre Cachia

in Exploring Arab Folk Literature

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780748640867
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653300 | DOI:
Two Perspectives on the ‘Other’ in Arabic Literature

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This chapter discusses two prevailing perspectives on the ‘other’ in Arabic literature. The first section discusses the literature of the illiterate public and those who had not been introduced to the Western-style education in Egypt. It discusses the poetry and works of city-poets who were neither members of the establishment nor entirely at one with the masses, and who adopted verse forms of folk literature mainly for satirical purposes. The most famous of these is Bayram at-Tūnisī and following in his footsteps is the enormously popular Ahmad Fu'ād Nigm. The second section considers the different levels at which the ‘other’ impinges on a writer's conscious or subconscious mind. It focuses on how the Arab writer views the group against which he finds it necessary to measure himself.

Keywords: Egypt; illiterate public; Arabic literature; Bayram at-Tūnisī; Ahmad Fu'ād Nigm; Arab writer; Western-style education

Chapter.  8680 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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