Arabic Minimalist Story: Genre, Politics and Poetics in the Self-colonial Era

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Isd, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 185 pages
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This unique study aims at characterizing the Arabic minimalist story as a new genre of narrative fiction that exploits many austere devices of post-modern strategies to exhibit a variety of socio-political and ideological matters that affect the fundamental needs of the common people in all Arab states. One of the major aims of this study is to expose the reader to the particularity of the Arabic minimalist story on both levels, thematic and aesthetic. On the thematic level, political, national and citizenship questions are at the top of the genre's agenda. Other topics, such as feminism and economic conditions, also attract significant interest among minimalist writers in all Arab countries. However, Arab minimalist writers are mostly preoccupied by national and political issues related to their quest for freedom, free speech, and proper interrelations between common people and rulers. In reading Arabic minimalist fiction, we come to recognize that the political crisis in Arab states has been among the uppermost concerns of Arab minimalist writers for the last three decades. On the aesthetic/poetic level, Arabic minimalist story is mostly applied to identify texts that are pared down to their most essential features and fundamental components. One of the departure points of the minimalist story in modern Arabic fiction is 'blurring transparency', which challenges the reader and his ability to go beyond the surface, namely to cross the verbal text to unseen texts. Since the minimalist story goes immediately to the point of the text, implicitly or explicitly, it generates a deep sense of powerful product. This is apparently the very reason why the minimalist story is particularly apt for devices that forcefully move the reader, such as satire, sarcasm, the absurd, irony, the grotesque, caricature, paradox, and the like. Unlike long genres of narrative fiction, which narrate a piece of reality or history, the minimalist story touches directly the core of the experience that the writer wishes to portray. Unlike long narrative genres, of well-explained events and detailed descriptions, the unique powerful effect of the minimalist story stems from its concentrated, focal and sudden presentation. Fighting and resistance are well suited to the minimalist story, which does not scatter the reader's attention to side issues. The immediacy and shortness of minimalist fiction are apparently the very features needed to reach the extreme of challenge and resistance.

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Minimalism Genre and Reader
Resisting Genre

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About the author (2009)

Contributor Biography - English Ibrahim TahaBorn in Israel, Ph.D. in comparative literature from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1994. Teaching at many colleges and universities: University of Haifa (Israel), The Academic Arab College (Israel), Oranim Academic College (Israel), The College of Sakhnin for Teacher Education (Israel), University of Uppsala (Sweden), and University of Heidelberg (Germany).Since 2003/2004 - Present day, member of the committee of the M.A. and Ph.D. studies in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature, University of Haifa.

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