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al-Jamali, Sana' (2005) The city in the novels of Fu'ad al-Takarli. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis examines how the Iraqi writer, Fu'ad al-Takarli, reveals the complex and intimate dynamics of Iraqi society from the early 1960s to the mid 1980s, in his three novels, Al Raj' al-Baid, Khatam al-Ram, and Al-Masarrat wed-Awja. The author's treatment of space and time throughout each novel is analysed - with particular reference to Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of Dialogism - in terms of the significance of chronotopes; the relationship between a character, his environment, and the links between the dichotomies of public and private space and the historical political situation. The introduction provides the context to the three novels under discussion which form a trilogy. A summary of the contemporary history of Iraq, al-Takarli's place within the development of the Arabic novel, and a survey of the critical framework adopted by this study is presented here. The following three chapters each analyse one of the novels, charting the erosion of the city (Baghdad) as a haven of familiarity and culture via the emergence of an aggressive political force (the Ba'th Party), which takes advantage of social decay. The role of the city increases throughout the trilogy as it becomes a metaphor for the state' s manipulation of identity. This thesis advances the view that al-Takarli casts the city as a microcosm of the whole of Iraq and the members of the families he portrays as allegorical characters who represent classes, generations or physical embodiments of the nation. The conclusion sums up the trilogy's exploration of identity through geography and presents a case for its intended function as both a historical document and a remedial tool for overcoming the trauma of the past. It is argued, above all, that the novels emphasise the empowering idea of a unified cultural identity of the Iraqi people.

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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