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Al Sharekh, Al Anoud (2003) Angry words softly spoken: A comparative study of English and Arab women writers. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis will be a comparative study charting the emergence of feminist consciousness in the novels of English and Arab female writers. The tripartite structure that this evolution follows - Feminine, Feminist, Female - will be based to some degree on the theory presented by Elaine Showalter's A Literature of Their Own. The work of three English novelists will be compared and contrasted with that of three modern Arabic novelists, which would fall into the same stage of development. The outline for this is as follows: 1. Feminine stage: the development of female consciousness during this phase was still being directly influenced and affected by a repressive patriarchal society. This manifested itself in the adoption of male pseudonyms by women writers, and the writing was generally oblique, displaced, ironic and subversive. The English author representative of this stage is Charlotte Bronte, and the Arab author Layla al-'Uthman. 2. Feminist stage: the distinguishing characteristics of women writers' work in this stage were vocal protests against male government, law and medicine, and the quest for a female utopia. The English author Sarah Grand will be the example of development in female consciousness at this level, and for the Arab author Nawal al-Sacdawi. 3. Female stage (which runs up to the present time): achieved by the authors through the redefinition of internal and external experiences, and determined by forays into the imprisoning and liberating aspects of female consciousness. For the purposes of this thesis, the English author Virginia Woolf will be representing this stage, and the Arab author Hanan al-Shaykh. In presenting an overview of the development of female literary consciousness through the novels of English women writers, this thesis will attempt to assess the development of contemporary Arab female writers, and uncover the trajectory of softness and anger in their work.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:03

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