Essays and Features

ESSAYS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 78, 2020

Award-Winning Amin Maalouf Sees World Civilization on the Edge of the Abyss!
By 
Elie Chalala

Amin Maalouf recently received the National Order of Merit from the French government, earning the second-highest status in the title of Grand Officer. The author’s other decorations include the Prix Goncourt in 1993, as well as his induction into the Academie Francaise in 2011, filling the seat of Claude Levi Strauss. His books have been translated into 50 languages. His most recent work, “The Sinking [or Drowning] of Civilizations” (Le Naufrage des Civilisations, Grassat 2019), takes up Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis, but shifts the focus from a clash between civilizations to a crisis that affects all aspects of human civilization as a whole. In the age of globalization and technological development, Maalouf claims that peoples and civilizations cannot be separated from each other in the way Huntington’s thesis suggests. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to add credence to the author’s claim.

ESSAYS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 78, 2020

Bandar Abdel Hamid (1947-2020): Editor and Poet Transformed His Humble Damascus Apartment into Inspiring ‘Literary Salon’
By 
Elie Chalala

The “beautiful Bedouin poet” Bandar Abdel Hamid passed away at the age of 73 on February 17, in his Damascus home from a heart attack. He died quietly, discovered 16 hours later to have had a heart attack, without anyone being able to help him. His death sent a painful shock to his many friends in Syria and throughout the Arab world. A leading poet of the 1970s, Bandar’s work contributed to Arab culture and enriched film criticism while encouraging creativity in his peers;  he transformed his humble apartment in Damascus into a stage for all forms of art and dialogues among intellectuals, friends, and strangers.

ESSAYS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 78, 2020

Silent in First Person: Where is the Confessional Autobiography in Arab Literature?
By 
Al Jadid Staff

Confessions in autobiographies can achieve two things: they reveal all that the writers have concealed about their lives, or they serve to offend those around them in doing so. Some have used confessions to elevate their own characters, depicting their actions as courageous while recalling the wrongs done against them throughout their life. In Arab tradition, writers wish their readers to see them in a positive light, and readers look to autobiographies for ideal figures and role models for future generations, drawing on religious traditions and figures. Rather than touch on his misdeeds, the writer would instead share his accomplishments, highlighting only the positive parts, according to Ehab al-Najdi. The 2015 publication of the Egyptian Najdi’s “Literature of Confessions: Analytical Approaches from a Narrative Perspective” (Dar al-Maaref) examines the complex obstacles and scarcity of confessional writings in the Arab world.

ESSAYS & FEATURES IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 23, NO. 77, 2019

Despite Decades-Old Controversies, Iraqi Poet Badr Shaker al-Sayyab Still Relevant!
By 
Al Jadid Staff

The Arab cultural scene never tires of Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab’s legacy, refusing to let it rest even 55 years after his death. The recent publications of Jasim al-Muttair’s “The Swinging Moods of Badr Shakir al-Sayyab,” as well as several columns on the poet by Iraqi writer Yassin al-Dulaymi and Lebanese columnist Mohammad al-Houjeiri, have again brought the poet’s life into the public eye. Sayyab did not shy away from politics in his work. “He was the kind of person who thought that a literary person and an educated person and a poet had a duty to get involved in the politics of his country and his nation and to point his finger and to be on the side of the poor and the struggling sectors of society. Governments were not, still are not, accepting of people who are not accepting of their line,” said his son, Ghailan al-Sayyab, in an interview with The National.

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