After Sinan Antoun’s visit to Cairo .. an overview of the history of the Iraqi novel

Iraqi novelist Sinan Antoun visited Cairo and held a symposium to discuss and sign his best-known novels.

Sinan Antoun is an Iraqi novelist, poet, and academic based in the United States. He has published novels: “Ijam”, “Alone with the Pomegranate Tree”, “Ya Maryam” and “Index”. He has published several collections. of poetry, including “A Prism Wet with War,” and “As in Heaven.”

Although Anton writes poetry and novels and is proficient in both, his distribution and fame have been achieved in a greater proportion thanks to his novels, which have won many awards and been translated into several languages.

His novel “O Maryam” reached the list of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Booker), while his novel “Alone with the Pomegranate Tree” achieved a huge distribution among readers and an excellent echo among critics, and the prize of the Arab won. World Institute in Paris.

On the sidelines of Anton’s visit to Cairo, she presents «the ConstitutionThis is an overview of the history of the Iraqi novel.

First attempts

The novel is not a long narrative text, it’s more complex than that, and it’s not a long story. In fact, it is difficult to find a clear definition of the novel. However, many workers in this field implicitly agree that the novel has technical conditions that separate it from maqamat, long stories, letters, and ancient prose arts.

Therefore, the first attempts to write the novel sometimes tended to confuse historiography, or biographical writing, with the (artistic novel), that is, the mature and full-fledged novel. Therefore, the Iraqis themselves differ on the leadership of the “awakening novel,” issued in 1919 by its author Suleiman Faydi (1885-1951), some consider it the first Iraqi novel, while others see it only as a novel attempt.

Until 1975, the Iraqi novelist blog had no more than 25 novels, which is a very small number if we know that the first serious attempts to write a novel in Iraq date back to 1921 by the author Mahmoud Ahmed Al-Sayed ( 1903- 1937), which is considered the pioneer of the novel. Iraq. This number is also considered very small in terms of quantity rather than quality, if we compare it, for example, with the number of novels accumulated by Iraqi writers between 2003 and 2014, which amounted to 470 novels.

After the first attempts of Mahmoud Ahmed El-Sayed, who published novels such as “For the sake of marriage” and “The Fate of the Weak”, about which critics also disagreed and some regarded it as mere first attempts, she third novel entitled “Jalal Khaled” came to him to settle the controversy, as many agreed that it was considered the first Iraqi novel, as it met technical conditions that elevated it to classification as a novel, and then the story wheel of the novel began in Iraq, and it was published years later, specifically in 1939, the novel “Dr. Ibrahim” by the novelist Dhul-Nun Ayoub (1908-1996), and it was also published In the same year, the novel “Magnon” by Abdelhak Fadel (1911-1992).

But surprisingly and contrary to expectation, the flow of the Iraqi novel slowed down during the 1940s, perhaps due to the repercussions of World War II, so very few titles were issued, such as “The Hand, the Land and the Water” by Dhul- Nun Ayoub in 1948, and the novel “In the Villages of the Jinn” by Jaafar Al-Khalili in The same year, and the novel “The End of Love” by Abdullah Niazi in 1949.

Although the art of the short story flourished in Iraq in the 1950s with the absence of the absent Tohma Farman and Fouad Al-Takarli, the novel did not keep pace with that prosperity, and the titles issued remained few, such as the novel “Sheikh of the Tribe” published in 1952 by Hamdi Ali, and the novel “A Story from the South” published in 1953 by Mortada Sheikh Hassan, and “The Petty Loser” by Hazem Murad in 1958.

The Iraqi novel made its big breakthrough in the 1960s, with the help of Ghaseb Tohma Farman, who wrote two novels that could be considered the actual inauguration of the Iraqi novel stream. What is meant here is the adult artistic novel, “The Palm and the Neighbors”, in 1966 and “Five Voices” in 1967.

He was followed by two novelists who contributed greatly with Farman to establish the characteristics, traditions and personality of the Iraqi novel, namely Fadel Al-Azzawi with his novel “Fadil Al-Azzawi’s Beautiful Creatures”, published in 1969, and Abdul Rahman Majid Al -Rubaie with his novel “The Moon and the Walls”.

The Iraqi novel surpassed the “beginning” crisis in the 1960s, and the Iraqi Roman River flowed in abundance and high quality after that decade. Fog at Noon “by Burhan Al-Khatib, and” Two Men on the Ladders “by Munir Abdel Amir and other novels.

The eighties .. the era of Hassan Mutlaq

Iraq began the war against Iran in 1980, and in those years many young Iraqis perished, either in the war, or as a result of the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath party.

The writer Hassan Mutlaq was a prominent and promising literary voice in those years. In his thirties he was able to win several literary prizes, especially the first prize for the war story and the Appreciation Award, and his novel “Dabada” was published. in 1988, which some regard as one of the most important Iraqi novels.

On July 18, 1990, Saddam Hussein’s regime executed author Hassan Mutlaq, after he was accused of trying to overthrow the regime.

Hassan Mutlaq is the brother of the famous Iraqi novelist Mohsen al-Ramli, who lives in Spain.

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