Women Narrating the Gulf: A Gulf of Their Own

in Journal of Arabic Literature
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Abstract

Starting from the premise that space is a purveyor of discourse, this article attempts to probe the work of three women writers narrating the Gulf. The Kuwaiti Laylā al-'Uthmān, the Saudi Arabian Rajā' 'Ālim and the Iraqi Hadiyya Husayn write the spaces to which they belong within representational modes speci fic to each region. The conservative Kuwaiti society and the holy land of Saudi Arabia generate strategies of camou flage including humor, pardoy, and allegory. The bloody history of Iraq, especially during the second half of the twentieth century, yields a subversive confessional mood and a dominating atmosphere of pain. While diverging in tone and narrative strategies, these three women writers converge in presenting a Gulf of their own: a personalized landscape wherein the physical world overlaps with psychological scenes. These writers also succeed in bridging the gap between the private and public and offer narratives in which the personal is relocated in the political, cultural, and historical.

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