Naǧīb al-Kīlānī and the Islamic Storyteller

In: Arabica

Abstract

Naǧīb al-Kīlānī is an Egyptian novelist and theorist whose work acquires more importance by virtue of its unique position as a literary manifestation of the thought and worldview of the Society of the Muslim Brotherhood. To embark on such a writing career in Egypt at mid-twentieth century meant first the antagonisation of certain power centers, leading to political jail, and ultimate diaspora; and second addressing the task of transforming the rudimentary conjecturing about an Islamic theory of art into a somewhat systematic form of theorization. The study thus aims to investigate al-Kīlānī’s contribution to the foundation of a theory of Islamic novel, focusing on his approach to the dilemmas and ambiguities surrounding the role of the modern Islamic novelist such as maintaining the intricate balance between the demands of religion and the freedom of art.

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