Autobiographical Identities in Contemporary Arab Literature
Arab autobiographical discourse remains a largely unexplored genre within Islamic and Middle Eastern literary studies. Responding to this scholarly oversight, Valerie Anishchenkova uses contemporary Arab autobiography to investigate various modes of cultural identity in twentieth-century Arab societies. During this period, autobiographical texts moved away from exemplary life narratives and toward more unorthodox techniques, such as erotic memoir writing, postmodernist self-fragmentation, cinematographic self-projection, and autobiographical blogging. Anishchenkova now sees the Arabic autobiographical genre as a mobile, unrestricted category arming authors with narrative tools to articulate their selfhood. Reading works from such Arab nations as Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Syria, and Lebanon, Anishchenkova connects the century's rapid political and ideological developments to increasing autobiographical experimentation in Arabic works. The immense scope of her study also forces a consideration of film and cyber forms of self-representation.