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    Negotiating Post-War Lebanese Literature: A Conversation with Rashid al-Daif


    Sakr, Rita (2007) Negotiating Post-War Lebanese Literature: A Conversation with Rashid al-Daif. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 43 (3). pp. 278-285. ISSN 1744-9855

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    Abstract

    Rashid al-Daif is one of Lebanon’s most prominent and prolific writers. Born in 1945, al-Daif is a novelist, poet, and Professor of Modern Arabic Literature (with a doctorate from France) at the Lebanese University in West Beirut. Eight of al-Daif’s 13 works of fiction (12 novels and one collection of short stories), originally published in Arabic, have been translated into English and/or French as well as into other languages. English translations include Azizi as-Sayyid Kawabata (1999; Dear Mr Kawabata), Fusha Mustahdafa bayna n-Nu’as wa n-Nawm (2001; Passage to Dusk), Nahiyat al-Bara’a (2001; This Side of Innocence), and Lernin Inglish (2007; Learning English). Published in 1995, al-Daif’s Azizi as-Sayyid Kawabata has been one of the dramatic moments of contemporary post-war Lebanese literature. After being selected as part of the European Cultural Foundation’s “Mémoires de la Méditerranée” series, it was immediately translated into English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Swedish, and Dutch. Al-Daif has also published three volumes of poetry and a number of papers and articles on the Lebanese novel and on the subject of intercultural dialogue. His novel Fusha Mustahdafa bayna n-Nu’as wa n-Nawm (2001, Passage to Dusk) was made by Simon Edelstein into a movie entitled Passage au crépuscule (Geneva, 2000); and another novel, Tistifil Meryl Streep [2001; Meryl Streep Can Suit Herself], was the subject of a play by Algerian-French writer Mohammed Qasimi, produced by Nidal Achqar in Arabic and French in 2006. Al-Daif’s work has attracted numerous critical articles and books, by Samira Aghacy, Stefan G. Meyer, Ken Seigneurie, Paul Starkey, Mona Takieddine Amyuni, Edgar Weber among others. These focus particularly on the dynamics and politics of al-Daif’s simple style and language, his use of autobiographical details, the role of place and space in his writings, and their representations of the reality or surreality of war. Sakr, who is currently writing a doctoral thesis partly on al-Daif’s works, interviewed1 the writer in City Café, one of al-Daif’s favourite haunts in the Lebanese capital Beirut, on 11 January and again on 20 March 2007. Both English and Lebanese Arabic were used during the interview and Rashid al-Daif subsequently approved the English translation.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Lebanese civil war; Lebanese Communist Party; Beirut; identity crisis; Yusuf Bek Karam; post-war Lebanese literature;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 11451
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/17449850701669617
    Depositing User: Rita Sakr
    Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 14:10
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Postcolonial Writing
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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