A Disturbing and Alien Memory: Southern Novelists Writing History (Southern Literary Studies)

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Her edited anthology The Poetry of Arab Women identified Arab-American writers as members of the Arab diaspora, and in her own writing she wrestles with issues of bifurcated identity not just on U. Her second collection, The Lives of Rain , depicts with greater particularity the multiple facets of exile and Palestinian experiences.

In poems which are innovative and compelling, Handal explores the realities of political conflict and the possibilities of finding or creating home. Other poems chart, with devastating clarity, the violence with which Palestinians contend: the physical violence of war and occupation, the emotional repercussions on those who survive, and the intellectual violence which Palestinians encounter when they attempt to speak of their own historical and personal realities. This is a violence enacted not just against the body, but also against the spirit.

Languages and places intersect and collide, creating a sense of both richness and longing: Arabic and Spanish and French and English, Morocco and Mexico and the Caribbean and the Balkans and Miami and New York. Hers is an arrival composed of disjunctions and conjunctions, of fragmented perceptions whose resonance is cumulative.

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Khaled Mattawa has been in the forefront of calling for a move into genres traditionally underrepresented in Arab-American literature, especially fiction. The reasons for the dearth of narrative in Arab-American literature, Kaldas and Mattawa suggest, have been complicated. Striking in this newer literature is a willingness to address gender issues and sexuality with more openness than previously. An increasing number of Arab-American playwrights are writing and producing plays, including Betty Shamieh, whose work has been produced off Broadway, and Jamil Khoury, co-founder of the Silk Road Theatre Project.

A first-ever edited collection of Arab-American drama, underway, will assist in making Arab-American plays available to a reading public. For some, Arab-American literature will always be about the narrative of leaving behind one identity and acquiring a new one. For others, Arab-American literature takes its place on a global canvas, as one component of a worldwide Arab diaspora in which cultural ties can be reinvigorated.

Arab-American authors may disagree whether the past is something to recover, or to recover from, as Khaled Mattawa has put it. But what is clear is that Arab-American ethnicity and expression is a matter not just of the past, but of the present and future.

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Arab-Americans have been making stories and poems for over a century, and increasingly the stories they make seek to remake the world they live in. The world that emerges is multifaceted, made of many cultural strands. Clearly, there has never been a singular home-space, one definition that will work for everyone. But as one examines the evolution of Arab-American literature over a century, it is clear that Arab-American authors have moved from a stance of defensiveness to self-assertion, producing literary texts that speak to their own realities and chart a space for their voices.

However, my discussion in this essay is limited to the U. Census Bureau. A similar literary organization, al Usba was formed by Arab immigrants in South America at about the same time. The Language of Baklava. New York: Random House, Alameddine, Rabih.

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I, the Divine. London: Phoenix, Bourjaily, Vance. Confessions of a Spent Youth. New York: The Dial Press, Blatty, William. The Exorcist. New York: Harper Collins, Which Way to Mecca, Jack? New York: Geis, Geha, Joseph. Through and Through: Toledo Stories. Paul: Graywolf Press, Gibran, Kahlil. The Prophet. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, ; rpt. Hage, Rawi. Toronto: Anansi, Halaby, Laila. West of the Jordan. Boston: Beacon Press, Drops of This Story. New York: Rattapallax Press.

The Lives of Rain.

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Northhampton: Interlink, The Neverfield Poem. Sausalito: The Post-Apollo Press, The Poetry of Arab Women. New York: Interlink, Hitti, Philip K. The Syrians in America. New York: George Doran Co, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, —. The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf.

New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers, Kaldas, Pauline.

Literary vs. Popular Novels

Egyptian Compass. Cincinnati: Custom Words, Mattawa, Khaled. Zodiac of Echoes. Keene, NY: Ausable Books, Rihbany, Abraham Mitrie. A Far Journey.

Stanford Libraries

Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Rizk, Salom. Syrian Yankee.

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Garden City, N. Serageldin, Samia.

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The Cairo House. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, Ward, Patricia Sarrafian. The Bullet Collection. Lisa Suhair Majaj was one of the first, and remains one of the most insightful, scholars to explore Arab-American literature. Born in Hawarden, Iowa to a Palestinian father and an American mother, she was raised in Jordan and attended the American University of Beirut from which she received her B. In the summer of , she evacuated out of Lebanon during the Israeli invasion and moved to the United States to work on her doctoral dissertation on Arab-American literature at the University of Michigan.

Her prose is as catchy and melodic as the music she describes in so many of her novels with the insight of a rock critic, and her fiction often illuminates the way we distort our memories. Eat the Document is the story of a woman who goes underground in the s after participating in violence with a radical group, and her son who uncovers her past in the s, when the ideals of the leftist movement have been romanticized and perverted. The Harry Potter novels, by J. Rowling — With her seven Harry Potter novels, J. Rowling has created a fictional world as fully imagined as Oz or Narnia or Middle Earth.