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In segregated, conservative societies with a repressive attitude to women, writing on the theme of love and sexuality are of particular interest. Among the plethora of studies on modern Arabic literature, this book is a major treatment of what has generally been a taboo subject. The scope covers the entire history of modern Arabic literature from the late-19th century to the end of the 1980s, with examples drawn from countries as diverse as Egypt and Kuwait. Although the main accent is on the prose of Egypt and the countries of the Mashreq, North African literature is also included. Examples are drawn form poetry, the novel and the short story. Topics range from "Erotic awareness in the early Egyptian short story" to "Death and desire in Iraqi War literature", from "Fathers and husbands as tyrants and victims" to "The foreign woman and the European mistress in the Maghreb novel". "Love and the mechanism of power" is analyzed, as are "Sexual politics and narrative strategies". Love and sexuality are shown as key elements in the work of Tawfik al-Hakim, Fuad al-Tikirli, the Kuwaiti writer Layla al-Uthman annd Nizar Qabbani. Other chapters treat "The lover in popular 20th-century Arabic drama", "Love and beyond in Mahjar literature" and "The romantic imagination and the female ideal".
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