Self and Other explores the complex dynamic between the individual and the collectivity, narrative and identity that define the short fiction of Yūsuf al-Shārūnī, pioneer of Arab literary modernism. With a range of translated extracts, Kate V.M. Daniels offers English-speaking readers an invaluable introduction to one of Egypt's greatest short story-writers.
6 x 9
Self and Other is a study of the ground-breaking short fiction of Arab author Yūsuf al-Shārūnī. Writing since the 1940s, al-Shārūnī is little known outside his home country of Egypt. Yet this modest pioneer of Arab literary modernism opened up the short story form some twenty years before Egypt's 'Sixties Generation'. His eclectic and avant-garde oeuvre saw him move from romanticism via realism to modernism, and even, latterly, to test the boundaries of postmodernism. Examining a voice that remains as vital even today, Self and Other offers an invaluable opportunity to explore this author for the first time outside the Arabic-speaking world.
Born in 1924, in the decade when European and American modernists were re-defining the form of the novel, al-Shārūnī's life and fiction chart the re-making of a very different historical and literary landscape. From the cholera epidemic and post-war changes that shaped late 1940s Egypt, through the turbulent years of Nasser and Sadat and ending with more recent references to AIDS and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Daniels teases apart al-Shārūnī's literary re-making of a world in flux. Self and Other explores the complex dynamics between the individual and the collectivity, and the larger questions of the relationship between narrative and identity that define al-Shārūnī's work. It offers insight into one of Egypt's greatest short story-writers and includes translated excerpts from key short fictional texts.
"...a welcome and necessary contribution to the extant scholarly literature on identity that will enhance the small body of work on this subject in Arabic literary studies... Daniels examines al-Shārūnī's explorations of individuality and identity in ways that also evince his honouring of the intimacy between reader and text, reminding us of his hope that in the literary encounter the reader would celebrate and find herself as well as being moved to act." (Dr Christie Johnson, Lecturer in Arabic Literature at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge)