Sexuality, nationalism and the other: the Arabic literary canon between orientalism and the Nahḍa discourse at the Fin de Siècle

Alkabani, Feras (2020) Sexuality, nationalism and the other: the Arabic literary canon between orientalism and the Nahḍa discourse at the Fin de Siècle. Middle Eastern Literatures, 23 (3). pp. 111-139. ISSN 1475-2638

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Abstract

This article examines the dual and paradoxical conception of the Arabic literary canon in Orientalist and Nahḍa discourses in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—an era of great change and closer mutual cultural awareness between Europe and the Arab world. What Arabic literature had long signified to European scholars since Antoine Galland’s eighteenth-century translation of The Arabian Nights (mysticism, Romanticism and a platform to explore sexual taboos) was very different from how the nationalist-minded Nahḍa intellectuals wanted to reconfigure it as the hallmark of the rational “Golden Age” of Arab civilization. Sexuality became a site of contestation between certain Orientalists who praised Arab literary “frankness” and an anxious class of Arab scholars who wanted to “cleanse” the Arabic literary canon and reconfigure it in line with modern, European standards of “respectability” and “politeness.”

Item Type: Article
Keywords: The literary canon, Nahḍa, Orientalism, Sexuality, Nationalism, Comparative literature, Modernity, Sir Richard Burton, Victorian morality
Schools and Departments: School of English > Sussex Centre for Language Studies
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2021 09:21
Last Modified: 12 May 2021 09:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/97268

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