Historically, the rise of the novel in Saudi Arabia has been delayed compared to the rest of the Arab countries such as Egypt, the Levant and Iraq, but in recent times it has experienced a remarkable development by a group of novelists proving their evidence has. worth on the map of the Arab narrative, especially the feminist novel, which has made great strides in this area. This is what is discussed in the book “The Poetics of Narrative in the Saudi Feminist Novel in a Quarter Century” by researcher Omar Mahfouz, published by King Saud University, in about 400 pages, which contains five chapters.
Mahfouz divides the history of women’s novels in Saudi Arabia into three phases. The first phase is from 1959 to 1979, and he describes it as the founding phase that Samira Khashoggi began with her novel “I pray farewell to my hopes,” followed by “Tearful Memories,” “Valley of Tears,” “Brightening Your Eyes ”. , “and” Behind the Mass. “It was shared at this stage by writers such as Hind Baghfar, Huda Al-Rasheed, and Aisha Zaher Ahmed. Mahfouz points out that” I Say Goodbye to My Life “is the first Saudi novel in the artistic world. sense, and so women took precedence over men in writing the novel in Saudi Arabia.What the novel “The Twins” by Abdul Quddus Al-Ansari (1930), “Idea” by Ahmed Al-Sibai (1948) and “The Resurrection” by Muhammad Maghribi, published in the same period, are “forerunners of a Saudi novel and not novels in the artistic sense, as they are long stories.” While Samira Khashoggi continued to produce nine novels until 1973, the others stopped. Mahfouz attributed Khashoggi’s continuation in fiction to “her coexistence with the Egyptian novel and her contact with the Egyptian product, and because she lived between Egypt and Lebanon.”
Maturity and experimentation
As for the second phase, called “Artistic Maturity and the Beginning of Experimentation” (1980-1999), it began after it was opened to different cultures, new forms of writing and a new awareness of the meaning of the novel and its artistic components that contained many ideas and political and social issues, and witnessed the crisis of conflict between modernists and conservatives. The experimental stage began with Rajaa Alem in her novel “4 / Zero” in 1987, and novelists such as Safia Anbar, Salwa Damanhouri and Laila Al-Juhani shared it. The main feature of this stage was a sense of social issues, interest in mythical content, language laden with ambiguity and complexity, written and artistic form, white spaces, the use of plastic art, the creation of wonderful worlds and interest in narrative architecture . Mahfouz divides the product of this stage into two parts: The first was an extension of the beginning generation; Language, method and style, and is characterized by clarity in dealing with events. The second is characterized by his deep writing style, drawing of characters, the production of wonderful worlds and contrasting storytelling technique.
The third phase covers the period from 2000 to 2010, and is called the “revolution phase in the Saudi women’s novel”. This stage was marked by boldness to present, the use of some modern technologies, entry into the world of digital platforms and social media, cultural clash with men, rebellion against habits and customs, and the proof of female identity. This stage was represented by the novel “Daughters of Riyadh” by Rajaa Al-Sanea in 2005, and the novel “Ghair and Other” by Hajar Makki. Mahfouz points out that the most important feature of this stage is the harshness of female voice as a novelist about men who have become “imitators”, especially of Rajaa Al-Sanea. Tariq Al-Otaibi wrote “Youth of Riyadh” in 2006 and Ibrahim Badi wrote “Love in Saudi Arabia” in the same year, and Ahmed Al-Wasel wrote: Surat Al-Riyadh in 2007.
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The book shows that in the period from 1990 to 2010 a large number of feminist novels were published, and the women’s sects wrote so differently that the author claims that the Saudi novel is pre-eminently a feminist novel due to the large number texts written by Saudi creators. This abundance is the result of the cultural boom achieved in the eighties of the last century, the proliferation of education, the abundance of schools and universities, the superiority of women in the field of education and academic achievement, the desire of women to be free from social constraints, the desire for fame and self-imposed, both unconsciously and unconsciously, and confront men with their creative energies differently.
The study points out that the Saudi women’s novel focused on women’s privacy, identity and being a mother, wife, daughter and lover, and defended women’s education, upbringing and relief and the tragedies to which they were exposed. be, monitored. She also touched on the topics of the veil, marriage, spinning, divorce, filiation, the educated woman and her position in the conservative society. These novels dealt with a number of objective and artistic phenomena, such as depression, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, subjective and spatial alienation, the use of the first person pronoun, the use of monologue, devotion to emotions and the singing of values. . of freedom, love, life and rebellion against the tyrannical man.
Mahfouz reveals that some Saudi creative women used nicknames and pseudonyms, such as “Warda bint Abdul Malik”, “Samira bint Al-Jazirah” and “Al-Muhajirah”, but this case did not turn into a phenomenon, and this pseudonyms can not more than 8 authors from 1958 to 2008.
In the first chapter of the book the author discusses “the concept of feminist narrative, its forms and methods”, in the second chapter “the language and its levels in feminist narrative”, and in the third chapter it focuses on the techniques of the story, the forms of religious and poetic memory, the meaning of visual and audio recall, the recall of time, place, characters and colors within feminist novels. In the fourth chapter he follows the structure of narration and the techniques of summarizing, deleting and retrieving, and of accelerating, decelerating and omitting. In the fifth chapter it discusses the poetry of the feminist narrative and its significance in the demolition and construction, the cultural clash, the individual rebellion of the female, trans group, the awareness in the feminist narrative discourse, the narration of girls’ stories, and the images of the man within this narrative.
From realism to romance
The author highlights a set of features of that narrative, including the shift from realism that simulates life to romance, defending women’s rights and proving themselves before men, and then on its way to mythical fantasy. It emphasizes the transformations of the ways in which language is used in writing, in description, dialogue and narrative. In the first and second generation, the narrative was characterized by a traditional, informative, descriptive, suggestive, and explanatory language. As for the third generation, its language was free from formal and traditional restrictions, and was at the same time full of the local dialect and the language of social media.
One of the common features in the Saudi feminist narrative is that she wrote the epic of the female presence as a heroine in all narrative events in the face of men to get rid of the dominance of male authority over her to be free live and responsibly, before the norms and traditions of society. The book points out in its results that the year 2006 was a difference in feminist creativity, as the number of novels reached 20 female novels out of 42 novels published that year, with a rate of almost 50 percent, which is equivalent to the novel creativity of men. The reason for this increase is attributed to the successive events of the first and second Gulf Wars, and the increase in the impact of globalization, the communication revolution and the flow of information that contributed to the change in some concepts, weakening the role of sensors has over their pens, so they were encouraged to lead the Saudi literary scene.
Finally, the study points out that there are many phenomena in the feminist novel, and more studies, research, and critical articles are needed to follow them in detail and in different aspects to highlight and embrace the key characteristics that distinguish them. knowledge of this experience. These include, for example, the tracing of language, drawing, plastic art, the invocation of popular biographies, and the use of folk ideals, legends, and fairy tales, according to the theory of modern feminist critique.