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The Arabic Bildungsroman: A Generic Appraisal

Author(s): Nedal M. al-Mousa


Source: International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 25, No. 2 (May, 1993), pp. 223-240
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/164664
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Int. J. Middle East Stud. 25 (1993), 223-240. Printed in the United States of America

Nedal M. Al-Mousa

THE

ARABIC

BILDUNGSROMAN:

A GENERIC

APPRAISAL

"Does the Arabic novel exist?" With this provocative question, Hilary Kilpatrick
begins an article entitled "The Arabic Novel-A Single Tradition?,"in which she
makes clear that her question has been inspired both by the established regional
approach1most critical studies use in dealing with the Arabic novel, and by the
absence of a continuous tradition of the novel as a genre in the Arab world. But,
while underscoring variety in form, style, and subject, Kilpatrick, keen to provide
an answer to her question, concludes in unequivocal terms that the Arabic novel
as a single tradition does certainly exist: "It is written in one language, and [has]
a shared cultural heritage and recent historical experience common to the whole
area [which] provide[s] novelists in different countries with similar material. In
this respect the Arabic novel is distinct in its subject matter from the African or
German novel, for instance."2Although the conclusion is valid, it is based on historical and cultural generalizations ratherthan on a thorough study of novels from
the Arab world. Nor does the platitudinous remark with which the quotation concludes help Kilpatrick make her case in a particularlyconvincing manner. The distinct nature of the Arabic novel, as this study will demonstrate, is best exemplified
in what might be called the Arabic Bildungsroman. Its definitive, culturally determined themes and structure,distinctive basic tension, and established literary conventions to my mind suggest the presence in the Arab world of at least this kind of
novel.
In a Bildungsroman, action hinges on the fortunes of an ambitious young hero
as he struggles to live up to his poetic goals against the negative forces of prosaic
reality. Typically, he grows up in a humble family in the provinces, but, endowed
with an adventurous spirit, leaves home to seek his fortune and realize his ambitions. In the course of his adventures, the hero falls in love with an aristocratic
lady whose inaccessibility awakens him to the harshness and complexities of life,
which is part of his education. His adventures bring him into contact with various
guides and mentors who volunteer to initiate him into life's realities and a series
of disenchantments designed to contribute to his internal growth. Only by shaking
off all the traces of his romantic orientation does he come to accept reality and his
apprenticeship to life comes to its end.
Nedal M. Al-Mousa teaches in the English Department of Amman National University, P.O. Box 337
Al-Jbaiha, Amman, Jordan.
? 1993 Cambridge University Press 0020-7438/93 $5.00 + .00

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224 Nedal M. Al-Mousa


Comparable themes can be found in six typical Arabic novels: Tawfiq alHakim's CUsfuirmin al-Sharq (Bird of the East) (1938), Dhu al-Nun Ayyub's alDuktur Ibrahim (Doctor Ibrahim) (1939), Yahya Haqqi's Qindil Umm Hashim
(Umm Hashim's Lamp) (1944), Suhayl Idris's al-Hayy al-Ldtini (The Latin Quarter) (1958), al-Tayib Salih's Mawsim al-Hijra ild al-Shamal (Season of Migration
to the North) (1966), and Ghalib Hamzah Abu-al-Faraj's Sanawdt al-Daya' (The
Lost Years) (1980).3 In all of them the hero's journey is to the West ratherthan to
the capital city. There he undergoes experiences, inevitably including love affairs,
which are part of his initiation into life.
Exposure to an alien culture allows him to view things from a cross-culturalperspective and suffer "cultureshock" and the agonies of estrangement.In the end, however, the journey allows him to understandthe world and to gain insight into his
native, as well as the foreign, culture.EdwardSaid points to the formativemechanism
in the educational benefits of the trip to the West in the Arabic Bildungsroman:
The moreone is able to leave one's culturalhome, the moreeasily is one able to judge it,
and the whole world as well, with the spiritualdetachmentand generositynecessaryfor
truevision. The moreeasily, too, does one assess oneself and alien cultureswith the same
combinationof intimacyanddistance.4
Bird of the East provides us with the earliest fictional dramatizationof Edward
Said's principle of intimacy and distance as an effective educational instrument.Muhsin, its hero, goes to Paris. His initial enlightenmentin the novel comes at the opera,
where he sees the spiritual debility of Western civilization when he realizes that the
opera goers are preoccupied, not by the music, but by what everyone is wearing.5In
another scene Muhsin and his French mentor go to a funeral: Andre, the mentor, remarks, "One goes into a church as one goes into a cafe. . . . What is the difference?

One is a public place; the other is a public place. One has an organ; the other, an orchestra."6Muhsin regards this as evidence of a loss of spiritual values; his disapproval of this loss is inspired by his fervent devotion to al-Sayyida Zaynab, a faith
that will enable him to retain his spiritualintegrity against the temptationsof the liberal ideas of the West.
Muhsin then takes a fancy to Suzy, a Parisian ticket seller, whom he idealizes as
an inaccessible young lady, though she is in fact selfish, callous, and cold, unable
to comprehend Muhsin's wholehearted attraction or to reciprocate his feelings.
Suzy has only her body to offer. She soon jilts Muhsin and goes back to her
French boyfriend when they patch up a quarrel. In his disillusionment, Muhsin realizes that Suzy is no Saniya, the sublime, inaccessible beloved of his uncle Saleem, a former police officer. In his long letter to Suzy after the rupture, Muhsin
reaches the conclusion that Indian girls are more faithful than French ones and
more full of warmth, feelings, and spirit, and his disillusionment colors his attitude towards Western culture in general. His painful love affair with Suzy does,
however, in typical Bildungsroman style, contribute to his maturation.
Love in Bird of the East is more than a stock-in-trade fictional theme; it is used
to dramatize cross-cultural conflicts to sharpen the tension between East and
West, which is the pivotal theme of an Arabic Bildungsroman. Love as a medium
for bringing opposed cultural values into dramatic focus is one of the salient fea-

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The Arabic Bildungsroman:A Generic Appraisal

225

tures that give the Bildungsroman its Arabic flavor, just as it does in the European
Bildungsroman, where characteristically the young hero from the lower classes
falls in love with the aristocratic lady and the pangs of unrequited love are used to
heighten the readers' awareness of the definitive theme of class struggle. The
course of events in Goethe's WilhelmMeister's Apprenticeship, Charles Dickens's
Great Expectations, and Balzac's Lost Illusions, for example, bears out this contention. In each of these novels class barriersin the realm of love, where the relationship between the self and the outside world is particularly close, are utilized to
add force to the central theme of class struggle, much in the same way that love
between the young Eastern hero and a Western girl is used to sharpen the tension
between East and West in the Arabic Bildungsroman.
Commentators hold that al-Hakim's major concern in Bird of the East is to underscore the superiority of the spiritual East to the materialistic West.7 That interpretation is based on the Russian emigre Ivan's extreme anti-Western ideas and
his remarkable infatuation with the spirituality of the East. To my mind, this is
hardly a tenable argument. For, taking our cue from Ivan's romantic illusions
about the East, his sentimentality, and his lack of intimate knowledge of the East
(Ivan, al-Hakim is keen to tell us, has never been there), we get the feeling that we
are not meant to take his views at face value.8 However, much in the meaning of a
novel lies in what is given rather than what is interpreted. Moreover, even Muhsin, who is so often identified with al-Hakim, does not unreservedly subscribe to
Ivan's contention that Muhsin is able to look into things more rationally than the
Russian emigre. Muhsin's awareness of the pros and cons of both cultures which
relates to his gradual cultivation of a true vision, as it is defined by Edward Said,
enables him even to draw Ivan's attention to the relative merits of Western civilization: "It seems to me, Monsieur Ivan, that you may be a little too harsh in your
judgment of the West. No matter how bad the situation is, Europe has still reached
heights in science that have never before been achieved .... "9In another place in
the novel, Muhsin refers to Beethoven's music'0 to add force to his argument as he
tries to awaken Ivan to the positive aspects of Western culture. Muhsin's remarkable capacity to see through Western culture seems to be a fictional version of alHakim's views on what the outcome of the cultural encounter between East and
West will be as it is recorded in Zahrat al-'Umr (The Flower of Life). In one of
his letters to Muhsin's mentor, Andre, al-Hakim remarks, "It is only the shock
generated by the encounter between East and West that will contribute to opening
closed eyes in both East and West.""
Paul Starkey, in his recently published book, From the Ivory Tower: A Critical
Study of Tawfiq al-Hakim, overlooks the fact that al-Hakim's major concern in the
novel is to depict his hero's internal development rather than to establish the spiritual superiority of the East to the West when he conceives of Muhsin's reluctance
to endorse extremely favorable views of the East as being a "fault in construction":
It has been possible to read the novel as an exaltationof the East at the expense of the
West. Admittedly,this idea has been expoundedentirelyby Ivan;but therehas, nonetheless, been a certainpresumptionthathis outlookis sharedby the young Egyptian.... the
changeof directionin the last few pages comes as somethingof a shock,andtherecan be
no doubtthatit mustbe counteda faultin construction.12

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226

Nedal M. Al-Mousa

But the "change of direction" towards the end of the novel in fact fits in with alHakim's preoccupation with depicting his hero's internal growth. It culminates in
his final acquisition of a true vision, which results from his undergoing a series of
educational experiences.
A spiritualcrisis is anothertypical theme in the Arabic Bildungsroman.Muhsin is
attractedto the liberal ideas of Voltaire and Nietzsche in chapter 10, and as a result
his devotion to al-Sayyida Zaynab is undermined. But Muhsin's spiritual crisis
proves to be only a passing phase in his educational journey. Later in the novel,
after he discovers Suzy's faithlessness, he regains his former devotion to al-Sayyida
Zaynab. In the wake of this emotional crisis, Muhsin finds himself for the first time
able to recollect his heavenly protectorand to seek her help and guidance. It is certainly his recovered devotion to al-Sayyida Zaynab that makes it possible for him to
consider setting sail for the East at the end of the story, when Muhsin promises his
Russian friend that he will go back to the East equipped with a true vision.
S. A. Morrison,in his book Middle East Survey, in defining the variety of attitudes
towards Western culture in the Middle East, writes: "Reaction to Western culture
may be classified under the headings of adoption, rejection and reconciliation,
though no sharp line of distinction can be drawn between the three groups."'3As we
have seen in our discussion of Bird of the East, adopting and then rejecting Western
culture figure as integralpartsof Muhsin'seducation, and towardsthe end al-Hakim's
hero develops some sense of culturalrelativity that suggests the possibility of effecting reconciliation between East and West. This interaction of all three attitudes in
Bird of the East justifies Morrison'squalificationthat it is difficult to draw a distinction between the various reactions to Western culture in the Middle East.
Doctor Ibrahim presents us with a completely different case. In it, adopting
Western culture in a distinct fashion is the central theme of the novel; Dr. Ibrahim,
the hero of Dhu al-Nun Ayyub's Bildungsroman is infatuated with Western culture.
His reaction to it typifies another attitude resulting, according to Ibrahim AbuLughod, from an individual's exposure to a culture superior to his native one. AbuLughod writes in Arab Discovery of Europe: A Study in Cultural Encounters,
"Mere acknowledgement of the superior qualities of another culture, however, may
lead to varied reactions. Observers may react by abandoning their entire cultural
heritage in an attempt to emulate what they deem to be superior culture."14
In Dhu al-Nun Ayyub's novel the young hero makes no secret of his repugnancefor
his native culture and his urgent need to adopt Western ways lock, stock, and barrel:
I believe that they [the Britons] have the right to do whatever they like. Haven't they ruled
a large part of the world? Haven't they subjected stubborn and intractable peoples to their
rule? Haven't they so humiliated us, the Arabs, that we hate them and hold them in contempt? Merely this signifies that we are at the lowest stages of barbarism, and that they are
at the highest stages of progress. And since it is my ambition to travel the road of progress,
I feel that I should adopt their manners and pay respect for their habits and traditions, no
matter how alien they may seem to me.15

So intense is the "Westerly pull"16in Dr. Ibrahim'slife that he sets his heart on
becoming a "gentleman" in the traditional English sense of the term, that is, to integrate himself fully into English society: he is even ready to embrace Christianity

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The Arabic Bildungsroman:A Generic Appraisal

227

to achieve this goal. The more Dr. Ibrahim assimilates himself to Western culture,
the more he alienates himself from his native one. In the phrase of Abdallah
Laroui, Dr. Ibrahim's powerful attraction to Western culture "signifies an alienation, a way of becoming other."17Little wonder, then, that Dr. Ibrahim derives
great satisfaction from being referred to by his fellow English students as a "gentleman." His fellow Arab students began to shun him because of his keenness to
cultivate Western tastes and manners.
Dr. Ibrahim's enslavement to his Western sentiments is emphasized by his assessment of the church and mosque: "Upon entering the church for the first time
in my life, I was struck by its beauty, impressive organization, and clean terraces.
Also I was fascinated by the chanting of hymns with an organ accompaniment; I
stood by Tomy moved and amazed, recalling the image of the dark, filthy dome of
al-Wali mosque at home."'8 His attitude towards the mosque and his readiness to
be converted from Islam to Christianity is traced to his early education at secular
schools in Iraq where his faith, as he himself admits, had been powerfully undermined. The point is important as it accounts for the spiritual distinction between
Muhsin, whose deeply rooted devotion to al-Sayyida Zaynab helps him retain his
faith in his struggle against the temptations of Western liberal thought in Paris,
and Dr. Ibrahim's lack of solid faith, which contributes to his spiritual disorientation in England. In this Dr. Ibrahim also stands in sharp contrast with Ismacil, the
hero of Yahya Haqqi's Bildungsroman Umm Hashim's Lamp, who, during his stay
in England, has a spiritual crisis, but manages by virtue of his faith to maintain his
religion against all odds.
Dr. Ibrahimalso distinguishes himself from his Egyptianfictional relatives, and for
that matter,from all the otherArabheroes in the novels underconsiderationby his calculations in the sphereof love. Dr. Ibrahimmakes no bones abouthis plan to use Jinny,
an aristocraticEnglish girl, as a stepping stone towards furtheringhis ambitions:
My love for her [Jinny] has been motivated by, on the one hand, my awareness of her father's
high position and great influence which might be beneficial towardsthe advancementof my career.And, on the otherhand, by the respect I pay for her nationalityand her brilliantmind which
would make of my marriageto her a great victory beyond the reach of any Iraqi or Arab.'9

This line of thought is worthy of an ambitious young man, and in this Dr. Ibrahim
appears to be a close relation of the young ambitious heroes in the European Bildungsroman, who rely on winning the heart of an aristocratic lady to climb the social ladder. Wilhelm Meister, for instance, sets his heart on marrying the
aristocratic lady Natalia, with an eye to the social prospects of such an alliance; Lucien Chardon (in Balzac's Lost Illusions) disowns his humble family to marry the
aristocratic Mme de Bargeton, hoping in so doing to improve his social position.
By marrying Jinny, as the quotation also suggests, Dr. Ibrahim hopes to bridge
the gap between himself and the Western world. This impression is emphasized by
the reference to Rudyard Kipling's "Ballad of East and West" at the head of the
chapter from which the quotation is taken. Despite his apprehensions that he will
not succeed in carrying out his plan, Dr. Ibrahim, deploying all of his inner resources, manages to bridge the gap and marry Jinny. In fact, Jinny has designs on

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228 Nedal M. Al-Mousa


Dr. Ibrahim; she wants to indulge her passion for the exotic East, exactly as the
British girls succumb to Mustafa Sacid in Season of Migration to the North. Up to
a point, Sacid shares Dr. Ibrahim'sattempts to build bridges between East and West
through marriage. The theme recurs in Ghalib Hamzah Abu-al-Faraj's The Lost
Years where the hero, Dr. Hamdan, marries an American girl named Helen. This allows Sonya, Dr. Hamdan's Chilean mentor, to comment on the marriage by referring to Kipling's contention that the "twain shall never meet." But, whereas in
Season of Migration to the North and The Lost Years the death of the wife comes
to symbolize the impossible task of bridging the gap between East and West, in
Doctor Ibrahim the undertaking succeeds, as if to deny Kipling's famous dictum.
Furtheranalogies can be drawn between Doctor Ibrahim and The Lost Years. In
each case the young hero's marriage to a foreign girl marks his complete assimilation into Western culture. Hence, it is not accidental that the reversal in Dr. Hamdan's life, namely, his regained sense of belonging to Arabic Islamic culture, is
triggered by the death of his wife, whereas Dr. Ibrahim'smarriage prospers as he
becomes completely divorced from his native culture, even after his return to Iraq
with his newly won doctorate. Encouraged by his wife, Dr. Ibrahim finally decides
to turn his back on his country once and for all and head for America.
Dr. Ibrahim's brief stay in Iraq is marked by a different struggle. Given his unscrupulous machinations against his enemies, the intrigues and counterintrigues in
which he is involved in the third part of the novel, one has the feeling that the thematic conduct of the novel is here borrowed from picaresque conventions. Dr.
Ibrahimbecomes the typical picaresque hero who tries to live by his wits, but with
the fundamental difference that in the picaresque novel we encounter a nondeveloping central characterwho is launched on his adventures as an already established
picaro. Doctor Ibrahim, on the other hand, dramatizes the hero's gradual development until he emerges fully equipped to fend for himself in a picaresque fashion.
That the action in Doctor Ibrahim hinges on the upbringing of the hero is represented by the titles of the first two parts, "Childhood" and "Youth."
The alienation experienced by Dr. Ibrahim after his return to Iraq parallels Isma'il's estrangement from his fellow countrymen and his own family upon his
homecoming in Haqqi's Umm Hashim's Lamp. To symbolize Isma'il's sense of detachment, Haqqi uses the image of the bird, "The first sign of life from his homeland he met was a creature whose homeland is the entire universe, a lonely white
bird that hovered round the ship, spotlessly clean, free and lofty."20The identification between Isma'il and the bird becomes more obvious later on in the novella:
"He then fell asleep for a little while and his thoughts became confused. He felt
like a bird that had fallen into a trap and had been put into a cage from which it
was trying to escape."21But if under the pressure of the powerful "Westerly pull"
in his life Dr. Ibrahim fails to reintegrate himself into his society and eventually
leaves for America, Isma'il does not go beyond toying with the idea of going back
to England at a time when his soul has been completely engulfed by alienation.
This gradually recedes and towards the end of the novella, he again accepts his native environment.
This distinction relates to the difference in the dominant emotion in each of the
two works. Adoption of Western culture is the theme in Doctor Ibrahim; effecting

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229

reconciliation between East and West is the theme of Umm Hashim's Lamp. This
reconciliation results from Isma'il's outgrowing his self-division and his acquiring
a true vision, the ultimate goal of his Bildung.
That the action in Umm Hashim's Lamp is geared towards broadening Ismacil's
horizons and extending the scope of his vision is suggested by the first lesson he is
made to learn at the hands of his Scottish mentor Mary. Upon first meeting Ismacil, she tells him, "Life is not a fixed plan but an everchanging series of pros
and cons."22Receptive as he is, Ismacil imbibes this general truth, adopting some
sort of a dialectical approach which proves to be of great value in his struggle to
overcome his inner conflict between East and West. Perhaps owing to his development of a dialectical approach, Ismacil finds himself able, in harmony with the
cultural tension in the novella, to cultivate a sense of cultural relativity as an integral part of his education.
As is the case in Bird of the East, cultural relativity links with intimacy and distance to become the main dynamic force contributing to Isma'il's better understanding of the two opposed cultures as well as his eventual clear vision of things.
To illustrate the point, two passages can be compared:
He lost himselfnaturallyin the crowdlike a raindropin the watersof the ocean.He was so
accustomedto the recurringsightsandsoundsof the squarethatthey met with no response
withinhim. Theyarousedneithercuriositynorboredomin him.He was neitherpleasednor
angry,for he was not sufficientlydetachedfromthemto be awareof them.Yet who would
say thatall these soundsand sights whichhe heardand saw, withoutrealizingtheirmeaning, could have this strangepowerof movingstealthilyinto the depthsof his heart,andbit
by bit becomingan integralpartof him?Forthe moment,as was only normal,he lookedat
everything.His only purposewas to look.23
After his return to Egypt we read:
WhenIsmacilcameto the squarehe foundit as usualcrowdedwithpeople,all lookingpoor
andwretchedandtheirfeet heavywiththe chainsof oppression.Theycouldnot possiblybe
humanbeingslivingin an age in whicheven the inanimatewas endowedwithlife. Theywere
like vacantandshatteredremains,piecesof stonefromruinedpillarsin a wasteland:theyhad
no aimotherthanstandingin the way of a passerby.Andwhatwerethoseanimalnoisesthey
madeandthatmiserablefoodwhichtheydevoured?Ismacilexaminedtheirfaces,buthe could
only see the marks of a profound torpor, as if they were all the victims of opium.24

The different attitudes towards the square and the crowds expressed in these two
passages provide us with a measure of the change wrought in Ismacil as a result of
his trip to Europe. Before his departure for England, as the first passage makes
clear, Isma'il was so absorbed with his surroundings that he could not see things
clearly; "His only purpose was to look." But when he returned, according to the
second passage, he is able to look into things more deeply. The word "examine" in
the second passage underlines Isma'il's newly acquired capacity to see through
things and people, to arrive at a wiser assessment of the world around him.
Isma'il's remarkable and growing "attentiveness" and his sociological discovery, so to speak, could be interpreted in terms of "culture shock," as it is defined
by Berger and Kellner:

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Nedal M. Al-Mousa

I'm likely to suffer from acute culture shock. It is important to point out, though, that such
culture shock has some useful side effects. It forces me to be fully attentive to everything
that is going on, precisely because it is all so shockingly unfamiliar. By contrast, much in
my own society ongoingly escapes my attention because it takes place within a structureof
familiarity. It may be true that familiarity breeds contempt; more relevantly for the interpreting social scientist, familiarity breeds inattention.25

On the basis of the two quotations from UmmHashim's Lamp, it would seem that
Isma'il's exposure to an alien culture, together with his seven years of absence
abroad, has estranged him from his environment, allowing him to reexamine it as if
he were an outsider. But no matterhow painful his insider/outsider26
status (Isma'il
can neither "go native," nor "go alien"), it helps him to comprehendthings.
Coupled with his attentiveness and his culture shock is Ismacil's growing sense
of cultural relativity. Here again Berger and Kellner's general observations on the
interrelationshipbetween culture shock and the concept of cultural relativity have
bearing on Isma'il's transformationand moral development: "All forms of culture
shock," Berger and Kellner maintain, "are also ipso facto relativizing. Indeed, at
the core of the shock is the insight that perception and norms previously taken for
granted are now revealed to be highly relative in terms of space and time."27
Isma'il's remarkable sense of cultural relativity, his recognition of the relative
merits of East and West, comes to the fore in the final parts of the novella.28As a
result of his cultivation of this sense of cultural relativity Ismacil shakes off all the
traces of chaos, confusion, and spiritual dislocation with which his soul was
plagued in the early stages of his education. He now comes to realize that "there
can be no science without faith."29 This is, of course, a far cry from Ismacil's early
skepticism, which led to his loss of faith when he first arrived in England.
Isma'il's internal harmony contributes to his cultural adjustmentthat culminates
in his marriage to Fatima. The narratorsays, "It was as if his love of women was
a manifestation of his love and devotion to the whole of mankind,"30but in fact a
closer look would reveal that it is through love of women that Ismacil has learned
to extend his emotions outward. I am referring here to Isma'il's relationship with
Mary, as a result of which he succeeds in getting rid of his penchant for withdrawal, his sense of detachment, and his introspection. The narratorsays:
The strange phenomenon which I could not account for was that Isma'il recovered from his
love for Mary only to find himself once more in love. Was it because his heart could not remain empty for long? Or was it that Mary had awakened his once slumbering heart? Isma'il
used to have only the vaguest feelings for Egypt. He felt like a grain of sand that merged
with other countless grains and was lost in them: although separate, it could not be distinguished from them. Now, however, he began to feel himself like a link in a long chain that
tied and pulled him towards his country.31
IsmaCil could not have more powerfully established his sense of oneness with
his environment than by marrying Fatima. Insofar as it is meant to underline IsmaCil's integration into his society, marriage in Umm Hashim's Lamp has the same
symbolic implications as the central character's revived emotional attachment to
Nahida in The Latin Quarter, Mustafa Sa'id's marriage to Hosna in Season of Migration to the North, and finally, Dr. Hamdan's marriage to Sucad in The Lost

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231

Years. All of these examples of love and marriage could be compared with Pip's
restored attachment to Biddy (the symbol of reality in Great Expectations), which
marks his eventual reconciliation with his origins.
Ismacil's acquisition of true vision after being subjected to a series of initiations-especially during his stay in England-justifies the narrator'scomment,
"Not for nothing had he lived in Europe and offered his prayers to science and scientific logic."32 Similar remarks are made by Subhi, one of the hero's intimate
friends in The Latin Quarter. The hero's detachment from his surroundingsweighs
heavily on his heart, and he seems to be unable to cope with the agonies of culture
shock in Paris, but Subhi tells him: "You are now in Paris, and this in itself is
something worthwhile. You made your way here out of your free choice, and,
therefore, you will have to bear the consequences of this decision. However, don't
let reflection ruin your experiences here . . . lead a bohemian life and when eventually you return to your country, you will come to realize the reasons for the undertaking."33These remarks come in the first chapter of the novel and set the tone
by pointing out the educational advantages of detaching oneself from one's native
culture and transplantingoneself into an alien one.
In Paris, liberated from the traditions of his native culture, the central character
sets out to live his life at the highest pitch, an undertakingcentral to his education,
his quest for self. One is tempted to suggest that The Latin Quarter is not the Bildungsroman only of the central character, but of almost all the Arab characters
studying in Paris. That is implied by the hero's being given no name as well as by the
remarksmade by Fuad, the central character'smentor.Annoyed by the vulgar behavior of the Arab students in Paris, the hero decides to avoid them, but Fuad tells him:
No, my dear,I thinkyou are mistaken.They are not repulsive,andyou will not shunthem
if you realizethatthey aredistressedyoungmensearchingfor theiridentity.We areall disorientedArabyoungmenengagedin [a] questfor self. It is inevitablethatwe commitsome
follies beforewe findourselves.34
The nameless hero holds the spotlight by virtue of his remarkable sensitivity,
receptivity, and urgent need for self-definition. He is found in the center of the relations formed by all the characters in the novel whose main function is to give
the hero an excuse to talk about the difficulties besetting his quest for self, as well
as to provide him with counsel as he strives towards self-definition.
An instructive analogy can be drawn between the hero in The Latin Quarter and
Wilhelm Meister in Goethe's novel. In the course of his educational adventures,
Meister comes across a number of characters who contribute to his internal development, either by telling him their life stories in the hope that he might benefit
from their experience, or by correcting his views on life and art to put him on the
right track. Wilhelm's apprenticeship to life is constantly supervised by the people
of the tower who run him through a sort of pedagogical program, whereas in The
Latin Quarter, although, technically speaking, Fuad figures as a mentor whose
sole function is to guide the hero, initiation is not so systematic. The same holds
true for Bird of the East, Umm Hashim's Lamp, and The Lost Years, in which, as
in Great Expectations or Lost Illusions, we encounter a mentor ready to initiate
the young hero into life's realities.

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232 Nedal M. Al-Mousa


The central character'senthusiasm for self-definition in The Latin Quarter is underlinedby the title of the firstfilm thathe sees in Paris, Life Begins Tomorrow,which
might be applied to his own attemptto form a new self. What attractshim most in the
film is the role played by the well-known naturalistJean Rostand, a staunchbeliever,
we are told, in the individual's capacity to mold his own life according to his natural
bent and desires.35This is exactly what the central charactersets out to do.
Jean Rostand's biological views coincide with the existential precepts of Sartre,
another participant in the film whose philosophical ideas had a tremendous impact
on the formation of the author Suhail Idris's social vision,36 which informs his
central character's quest for self in the novel. There is even a strong suggestion
that Suhail Idris voices his attraction to Sartre's philosophical views through his
central character who, on several occasions, reveals his familiarity with Sartre's
writings and his admiration for his views. In his book, Existentialism and Humanism, Sartre, in a remark pertinent to the hero's attempts at self-definition, maintains, "Man is nothing else but what he purposes; he exists only in so far as he
realises himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing
else but what his life is."37

The central character'seagerness to realize himself receives further emphasis in


the recurrence of the phrase "life begins tomorrow" in connection with his first
amorous adventure in Paris, which is comparable to Muhsin's relationship with
Suzy and Isma'il's possession of Mary; in each case physical love is an integral
part of the young hero's initiation, but, given the conservative Eastern upbringing
of Idris's young hero, his physical love relationships with Marguerite and Lilian
arouse in him feelings of disgust and disillusionment with Western culture that recall Muhsin's reaction to Suzy's unfaithfulness. And just as cross-cultural considerations come into play in bringing about Muhsin's disillusionment, so Idris's
young hero succumbs to comparing his physical relationship with the Parisian
girls to his sublime love for Nahida.
His more self-fulfilling love relationship with Janine, an elevated version of
Marguerite and Lilian, awakens him to new cross-cultural facts. He comes to realize the compatibility of body and soul; he is now even inclined to believe that it is
only by our recognition of the sanctity of the body that we can achieve spiritual
love: "Indeed, he hated some of those bodies either on account of their defectiveness, or because of a defect in his own nature. But hasn't he loved Janine's soul by
loving her body and loved her body by loving her soul. She has recognized the
sublimity of the soul out of her awareness of the sanctity of the body."38
These cross-cultural assessments result in his acquisition of a new vision of
things and the young hero turns to reconsidering the nature of his relationship
with Nahida. She is in love with him, but out of her fear of the tyrannical force of
conservative social conventions, she suppresses her emotions, and this has led to
their erosion and to the effacement of her personality. The hero of The Latin
Quarter is in a good position to see through Nahida's moral plight because his experiences in Paris have revealed to him the tyranny of tradition and cultural sanctions that prevent the individual from becoming himself in the East.
However, the hero's exasperation is temperedby his cultivated patriotic sense. He
succeeds in bringing himself to readjustto his environment,but is determinedto en-

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233

rich his life by adopting some elements of the other culture. Evidence of this is the
hero's attempt to persuade Nahida, his prospective wife, to read Sartre'swritings.
In terms of the novel's existentialist superstructure,the hero's cultivation of a
patriotic sense and his commitment to national ideals interact with his efforts at
self-definition. Man, Sartre writes, "makes himself by the choice of his morality,
and he cannot but choose a morality, such is the pressure of circumstances upon
him. We define man only in relation to his commitments."39Morality and commitment also underlie the hero's decision to marry Janine, despite his mother's strong
opposition to an alliance with a foreign girl, but Janine rejects his proposal, keeping his wholehearted enthusiasm for serving his country intact. Does not Fuad, a
staunch advocate of the national cause, teach the hero that marriage to a foreign
girl is incompatible with patriotic orientation? Nor does the hero's marriage to Janine fit in with his final decision wholeheartedly to reintegrate himself into his society to begin a new life guided by a new vision.
In The Latin Quarter the action revolves around cultural interaction between
East and West, just as it does in Umm Hashim's Lamp, and to a lesser extent, in
The Bird of the East. But this can hardly be said of Season of Migration to the
North. In this work the confrontation between East and West (or between North
and South, in this case) takes the form of "encounter and challenge,"40yielding to
"retaliatory violence"41and aggression very different from the cultural clashes in
the other Arabic Bildungsroman. However, it is not for nothing that Salih, in an
interview, draws a distinction between his novel and the other three works in
which the confrontation between East and West acquires, to use Salih's words, a
"romantic," "gentlemanly"42dimension reflecting the historical infatuation with
the West in the Arab world.
To a certain extent, Mustafa Sa'id shares with his fictional Arab characters their
infatuation with Western culture, but his reactions towards it are more complicated than theirs. Salih depicts the clash between his hero and Western culture on
a larger scale than the other Arabic Bildungsroman writers do. In the main, in the
other Arabic Bildungsromane it is based on purely cultural differences, whereas in
Season of Migration to the North it is also given political, cultural, racial, and
psychological dimensions. Sa'id's diverse set of attitudes towards Western culture
in Season of Migration to the North seems to flesh out Mansour Khalid's contention in speaking of Arab and American cultures: "Generally speaking, attitudes toward the outside world are not necessarily rational since they depend on traditions
derived from cumulative historical legacies. These attitudes may take the shape of
hostility, jealousy, emulation, suspicion, affinity or cultural and ideological exclusiveness."43The dramatization of some of these attitudes or variations on them in
Season of Migration to the North come into play in the dramatic confrontation between Mustafa Sa'id and Western culture, which gives Salih an opportunity to
dramatize the confrontation more comprehensively and with a greater measure of
intensity than in the other Arabic Bildungsromane.
Hostility towards the West figures as the foremost passion in Sacid's life, and
the key to his hostility can be found in his self-imposed political role of settling
the score, so to speak, with the colonizers of his country. Sacid's single-handed
campaign to conquer the West acquires an irrational quixotic dimension.44 His

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234 Nedal M. Al-Mousa


bedroom in London turns into a battlefield where he can conquer the hearts of his
English female victims. The intensity of the war is such that it claims the lives of
four women (one is killed by Sacid; three commit suicide on his account).
The military metaphors with which Season of Migration to the North abounds
recall the frequently recurring images of war in the French Bildungsroman. In
Balzac's Lost Illusions, for instance, the young bourgeois hero, Lucien, wages war
against society in postrevolutionary France, and on several occasions in the novel
he describes in military terms his struggle for self-realization under unfavorable
social circumstances. But it is Julien Sorel, the hero of Stendhal's novel The Red
and the Black, who strikes us as the most impressive fighter. Julien sets out to
achieve in the social field what Napoleon has achieved on the battlefield. For
Julien, as for Lucien, the battlefield shifts to the salons of the aristocrats where the
invasion of the hearts of aristocratic ladies may yield rewarding social victories.
On the moral level, the defeat of aristocratic ladies in the French Bildungsroman
fits in with the attempts of the bourgeois hero at undermining the social structure
of a rigidly stratified society that makes it difficult for him to improve his position
by climbing the social ladder.
In all these respects comparison and contrast can be drawn between Sacid and his
French fictional kinsmen. Like Lucien and Julien, Sa'id chooses women as his chief
targets of attack inspired by the hidden motive of dealing a disastrous blow to the
moral fabric of English society. Thus, to my mind, it is by no means accidental that
Sa'id chooses respectable women-because they symbolize moral integrity-to
carry out his destructive campaign against English society: "The women I enticed
to my bed included girls from the Salvation Army, Quaker societies and Fabian
gatherings."45And in the case of Ann Hammond, in particular, Sa'id derives great
satisfaction from turning this lady of respectable family into a harlot.
Just as the young hero's aggressive attitude towards aristocratic ladies fits in
with the definitive theme of class struggle in the French Bildungsroman, so in
Season of Migration to the North the hostility towards women harmonizes with
the typical theme of the confrontation between East and West in the Arabic Bildungsroman-the equivalent of the characteristic theme of class struggle in the
European Bildungsroman.
As many commentators46have pointed out, racism joins forces with politics to
keep normal emotional relationships between Sa'id and English women from
developing. In addition, Sa'id's problematic relationship with English women
could in part be ascribed to what Salih describes as the illusion-based relationship
between the Arab Islamic world and European civilization.47This contention is
conspicuously articulated in the mechanics of the love relationship between Sa'id
and the English girls: they are all at one in conceiving of him as a lustful figure embodying the exotic mysterious world of the East. For Ann Hammond, Sa'id steps
directly from the fanciful world of the Arabian Nights; she could even act out a
role with him inspired by that fictional world, "You are Mustafa, my master and
my lord," she said, "and I am Sausan, your slave girl."48His bedroom, which has
the atmosphere of the Arabian Nights, also has a dazzling effect on Sheila Greenwood, who, in her turn, is attracted to the exotic element in his personality. The
English girls' illusory image of Sa'id-or, in the terminology of Edward Said, their

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235

"textual attitude"49towards him-seems to have affected his image of himself, and


he identifies himself with Shahryar,"It was as though I were a slave Shahryaryou
buy in the market for a dinar encountering a Sheherazade begging amidst the rubble of a city destroyed by plague."50Caught up in this situation Sacid goes on to act
out the role of a lustful figure turning the seduction of women into a mythical act
having its special rituals. It is perhaps on account of his entanglement in this web
that Sacid, at one stage in the course of his amorous adventures, complains: "But
there was nothing I could do. Having been a hunter, I had become the quarry."5'
The Othello theme in the novel could also lend itself to interpretationin terms
of Salih's concept of the illusion-based image of the East in the West. Sa'id's
keenness to distance himself from Othello, "I am no Othello. Othello was a lie,"52
represents an attempt on his part to shatter the image imposed upon him by the
others. He suffers from a sort of identity crisis that contributes to his role playing,
represented by his assumption of different names-Hassan, Charles, Mustafa,
Amin, and Richard.
The Arabic and English names assumed by Sa'id also point to his being torn between the two cultures, a typical theme in the Arabic Bildungsroman. His selfdivision is stressed by his nickname of the "black Englishman,"53as well as by the
Oriental decorations of his room in London, which also represent his attempt to
protect his cultural ego in a hostile environment. In the phrase of Albert Hourani,
Sacid's "defensive clinging"54to native culture is a means of preserving his ego
against attempts by others to label him, to efface his personality.
It is because of this threat to his ego that Sa'id chooses to settle down in a village on the banks of the Nile where cultural traditions are intact. As Frank M. Birbalsingh has pointed out, the point is underlined by the "cryptic phrases"55used by
Salih in his description of the villages, "The houses were houses, the trees, and
the sky was clear and far away."56Sa'id's intense sense of belonging to the village
has excited the envy of the narratorwho himself is plagued with ambivalence toward East and West.
To reintegrate himself fully with his environment, Sacid marries Hosna, Mahmoud's daughter. His marriage contrasts with his marriage to Jean Morris: the
former having been undertakenas a means towards establishing his powerful sense
of belonging, according to the conventions of the Arabic Bildungsroman, and the
latter inspired by Sa'id's hidden motive to bridge the gap between East and West,
another common theme. But Sa'id does not find it as easy a task to eliminate the
cultural differences between East and West as Dr. Hamdan does under similar circumstances. The futility of Sa'id's undertakingis symbolized by his failure to have
children by Jean Morris in the three years the marriage lasted. The sterility of this
marriage contrasts with his productive marriage to Hosna, the symbol of cultural
traditions within the scope of which Sacid, and, for that matter, the majority of his
Arab fictional relatives come to realize that full self-realization is possible.
Yet, as is suggested by the Western atmosphere of his private rectangular room
(which has the same symbolic function as his room in London), Sa'id is not
wholly cured of his internal division. And it is this incurable duality that underlies
his complaint, "I was the invader who had come from the south, and this was the
icy battlefield from which I would not make a safe return."57Subsequent events

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236 Nedal M. Al-Mousa


prove this to be a prophetic remark:Sa'id's mysterious drowning in the Nile is the
outcome of his failure to come to terms with his chronic ambivalence.
Sa'id's tragic end seems to be incompatible with the designation of the novel as
a Bildungsroman, which usually ends with a new starting point in the life of the
hero. But in the light of the established line of interpretationthat Sacid is only part
of, in the words of Roger Allen, the subconscious of the narrator,58it is possible
that Season of Migration to the North presents us with the Bildung of the narrator
who himself is conscious that his life begins where Sacid's life ends, "I begin from
where Mustafa Sacid had left off."59Here the narratorcomes a long way from his
mental state in the early parts of the novel where he expresses his apprehensions
that he could have met Sacid's destiny: "Was it likely that what had happened to
Mustafa Sacid could have happened to me? He had said that he was a lie, so was I
also a lie? I am from here-is not this reality enough?"60The narrator'sapprehensions derive from his identification with Sacid in terms of their common selfdivision. But if self-division has proved to be a fatal malady in Sacid's case, the
narratoris cured of it by the death of Sacid, his alter ego. The river scene towards
the end may illustrate the point:
I heard the reverberationof the river and the putteringof the water pump. Turningto left and
right, I found I was half-way between north and south. I was unable to continue, unable to return.I turnedover on to my back and stayed there motionless, with difficulty moving my arms
and legs as much as was needed to keep me afloat.... Then my mind cleared and my relationship to the river was determined.Though floating on the water, I was not part of it. I thought
that if I died at that moment, I would have died as I was bornm-withoutany volition of mine.
All my life I had not chosen, had not decided. Now I am making a decision. I choose life.61

It will not have been lost on the reader that this scene of struggle and survival is
meant to remind us of Sa'id's death by drowning. And one need hardly labor the
point that the narratorowes his survival to striking a balance between North and
South (which has kept him afloat), helped in doing so by the lesson embodied in
Sa'id's tragic end, the outcome of his acute ambivalence. Yet, as the dedication to
Sa'id's "life story" reveals, the message embodied in it is in fact addressed to all
those who suffer from dichotomous orientation, especially by being caught up between two cultures: "Opening a notebook, I read on the first page: 'My Life
Story-by Mustafa Sa'id.' On the next page was the dedication: 'To those who see
with one eye, speak with one tongue and see things as either black or white, either
Eastern or Western."'62
Sa'id's dedication is particularly applicable to Dr. Hamdan, in Ghalib Hamzah
Abu-al-Faraj's The Lost Years, who is acutely infected with the malady of seeing
with one eye, as he is torn between two cultures, East and West. We are first introduced to Dr. Hamdan in a nostalgic mood at his beautiful villa in Los Angeles: he
is recalling his happy childhood in his native village of Qibaa in Saudi Arabia.
Nostalgia, a constant theme in the novel, gives measure to Dr. Hamdan'sstrong attachment to his native culture and therefore-to anticipate the end of the novelhis eventual decision to turn his back on the West and return home. In the meantime, he is subjected to a series of educational experiences. Once his education is
over, he emerges as a totally different person.

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237

Detached from his native culture and exposed to an alien one, Dr. Hamdan, as is
often the case in the Arabic Bildungsroman, indulges in reassessing it according to
the norms of the alien culture, which is in turn examined from a cross-cultural
perspective. Likewise, in a typical manner, Dr. Hamdan falls under the spell of
Western civilization; he is, though, repelled by the materialistic values in the
West, which Dr. Hamdan believes have turned Westerners into slaves. Within the
framework of his reflections on the relative merits of East and West, Dr. Hamdan
arrives at the conclusion that the individual in the East enjoys greater freedom
than the Westerner simply because he has fewer materialistic needs.63
Constant cross-cultural assessment in The Lost Years is established as the cardinal fact of daily experience in the life of Dr. Hamdan. One is given the feeling
that, as Dr. Hamdan's attraction to Western culture intensifies, so does his defensive clinging to native traditions. Commenting on what the confrontation between
East and West might produce in the lives of the individuals, Albert Hourani
writes:
Those educatedin Westernschools becameawareof new ideas and norms;they became
consciousthatthe West wasjudgingthemin the light of those normsandas the movement
of Westernlearninggrewtheybeganto judgethemselvesin the sameway. Thustherearose
an innerunrest,a need to justify themselveswhichmightmanifestitself equallyin an uneasy, defensiveclinging to tradition,or in the eagernessto abandonthem and accept the
mannersof those of the Westernworld.64
Dr. Hamdan's inner turmoil, his self-division between the two cultures, and his
tendency to cultivate some form of "defensive clinging to tradition"as an antidote
to Westernization, all come conspicuously to the fore in the realm of love. Dr.
Hamdan falls in love with an American girl, Helen, and he possesses her physically, but he continues to be haunted by the memory of his beloved Su'ad, the
symbol of traditional Eastern values. The Helen-versus-Sucad theme in The Lost
Years parallels the Janine-versus-Nahida dichotomy in The Latin Quarter. In each
case the physical possession of the foreign girl awakens the young hero to the tyranny of Eastern social conventions, which prevent him from enjoying his love relationship fully. But if marriage to a foreign girl in The Latin Quarter has been
avoided in anticipation of the young hero's eventual homecoming possessed of
powerful patriotic sentiments incompatible (according to the novel's basic cultural
assumptions) with such a marriage, in The Lost Years Dr. Hamdan marries Helen
only to undergo a series of frustrations and disappointments contributing to his increasing attachment to Sucad, and thus his growing attachment to tradition.
It has already been pointed out that the marriage to a foreign girl in The Lost
Years compares, in different respects, with the identical undertakingin The Doctor
Ibrahim and Season of Migration to the North, but here I would like to pinpoint
similarities between the consequences of the marriage to a foreign girl in Season
of Migration to the North and The Lost Years. Just as Jean Morris's death in the
former seems to be a prerequisite, so to speak, for Mustafa Sacid's return to Sudan
where he can begin life anew in his native environment, so in the latter Dr. Hamdan would lose his wife and two children in a car accident as a preliminary step
towards his final homecoming.

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238 Nedal M. Al-Mousa


Dr. Hamdan, however, is not unaware of the symbolic implications of the elimination of his family: "He was destined to lose his family, for had it survived it
could have been a burden, which would have prevented him from making his way
back home."65Nor is it accidental that it is only in the aftermathof the death of his
family that Dr. Hamdan recalls Sucad, whose image has long since faded from his
mind in the midst of his overwhelming absorption in Western culture. He is even
now able to consider marrying Sucad: "Finally, he would see Su'ad ... he has got
a feeling that she is still waiting for him, and should she accept he would marry
her, and start life anew in his native village."66This is exactly what happens at the
end of the novel. To stress the internal transformationof his hero by the end of the
apprenticeship that concludes with his homecoming, the author writes: "Upon his
return home, Dr. Hamdan has changed beyond recognition ... he is now hardly
conscious of anything in life except that he is reborn."67
Of course it is not uncommon for the young hero in the Arabic Bildungsroman
to returnhome full of enthusiasm to start life anew. In The Latin Quarter the point
is highlighted in a particularly striking fashion by making the hero conclude the
novel with the remark:"It is only now that life begins, mother."68This remark recalls Andre Gide's observation that every end should be a starting point:
X. maintains that a good novelist, before he begins to write his book, ought to know how it
is going to finish. As for me, who let mine flow where it will, I consider that life never presents us with anything which may not be looked upon as a fresh starting point, no less than
as a termination. "Might be continued"-these are the words with which I should like to
finish my Counterfeiters.69

Gide's remarks are particularly suited to the Bildungsroman in which the hero
undergoes a series of educational experiences designed to teach him the "art of
living." Indeed, in WilhelmMeister, the most outstanding representative Bildungsroman, the hero ends up as a "master" in the art of living, and in its sequel, Wilhelm figures as an initiate.
In the Arabic Bildungsroman the theme of the art of living is replaced by the
central issue of teaching the hero how to reconcile two opposed cultures. The adaptation of the apprenticeship pattern to dramatize indigenous themes that form
the basis of a distinctive structuralconduct in six Arabic novels published during
the period from 1938 to 1980 underlines the existence of a continuous tradition of
the Bildungsroman in Arabic literature.
NOTES

Author's note: Research for this study was supported by Kuwait University.
'Kilpatrick cites four examples to support her arguments: S. Idris's Al-fann al-qasdsifi Lubndn(The
Novelists' Art in Lebanon), S. Mustafa's Al-qissa fi Suriya (The Novel in Syria), Yahya Haqqi's Fajr
al-qissa al-misriya (The Dawn of the Egyptian Novel), and CAbdal-Muhsin Taha Badr's Tatawwur alriwdya al-'arabiya fi Misr (Development of the Arabic Novel in Egypt).
2Hilary Kilpatrick, "The Arabic Novel-A Single Tradition?," Journal of Arabic Literature, 5
(1974): 93.
3The theme of the encounter between the East and the West in some of these novels has been dealt
with by Issa J. Boullata. But Boullata's study does not concern itself with interpreting Arabic novels

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239

with reference to the conventions of the Bildungsroman. See Boullata, "Encounter Between East and
West: A Theme in ContemporaryArabic Novels," in Critical Perspectives on Modern Arabic Literature, ed. Issa Boullata (Washington, 1980), 47-61.
4EdwardW. Said, Orientalism (London, 1978), 259.
5Tawfiq al-Hakim, Bird of the East, trans. R. Bayly Winder (Beirut, 1966), 20-21. All references
are to this edition.
6Ibid., 12.
7See Ali B. Jad, Form and Technique in the Egyptian Novel, 1912-1971 (London, 1983), 51-52.
See also Paul Starkey, From the Ivory Tower: A Critical Study of Tawfiq al-Hakim (London, 1987),
109-18. Both commentators interpretthe novel as a record of al-Hakim's dramatizationof the theme of
the spiritual superiority of the East to the materialistic West.
8Failing to take into consideration these factors, Paul Starkey goes so far as to conceive of Ivan as
al-Hakim's spokesman: "In CUsffirmin al-Sharq, for example, it is Ivan who serves as the main mouthpiece for al-Hakim's ideas," Starkey, From the Ivory Tower: A Critical Study of Tawfiqal-Hakim, 126.
9Al-Hakim, Bird of the East, 163.
'OIbid.,165.
"Tawfiq al-Hakim, Zahrat al-cUmr (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-Lubnani, 1975), 63.
'2Starkey, From the Ivory Tower, 116-18.
13S. A. Morrison, "Islam and the West," in Readings in Arab Middle Eastern Societies and Cultures,
ed. Abdulla M. Lutfiyya and Charles W. Churchill (The Hague, 1970), 253.
14Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, Arab Discovery of Europe: A Study in Cultural Encounters (Princeton, N.J.,
1963), 144.
'5Dhui al-Nun 'Ayyub, al-Dukturlbrahim (Baghdad, 1978), 99-100. Translationsfrom the text are mine.
'6The phrase is used by R. Patai, "The Dynamics of Westernization in the Middle East," in Readings
in Arab Middle Eastern Societies and Cultures, 250.
17Abdallah Laroui, The Crisis of the Arab Intellectual: Traditionalism or Historicism?, trans. Diarmid Cammell (London, 1976), 156.
l8'Ayyub, al-Duktar Ibrahim, 101.
'9Ibid., 107.
20Yahya Haqqi, The Saint's Lamp and Other Stories, trans. M. M. Badawi (Leiden, 1973), 17. All
textual quotations used in this paper are from this edition.
21Ibid., 31.
22Ibid., 19.
23Ibid., 7.
24Ibid.,27-28.
25PeterL. Berger and Hansfried Kellner, Sociology Reinterpreted: An Essay on Method and Vocation (Harmondsworth, 1981), 39.
26Ibid.,40.
27Ibid., 60.
28Haqqi,The Saint's Lamp and Other Stories, 33-34.
29Ibid., 36.
30Ibid., 38.
3lIbid., 21.
32Ibid., 22.
33SuhailIdris, al-Hayy al-Latini (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1986), 12. Translationsof the text are my own.
34Ibid., 87.
35Ibid., 30.
36Fora discussion of the intellectual impact of Sartre'swritings on Suhail Idris, see Ibrahimal-Sacafin,
Tatawwur al-riwdya al-'arabiya al-Haditha fi Bilad al-Sham 1870-1967 (Baghdad, 1980), 242-46.
37Jean-PaulSartre, Existentialism and Humanism, trans. Philip Mairet (London, 1948), 41.
38Idris, al-Hayy al-Latini, 214.
39Sartre,Existentialism and Humanism, 50.
40Thephrase is used by Muhsin Jassim Ali, "The Socio-Aesthetics of ContemporaryArabic Fiction:
An Introduction,"Journal of Arabic Literature, 14 (1983): 79.
41Ibid., 83.

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240 Nedal M. Al-Mousa


42"Tayeb Salih as a Novelist and Critic: An Interview," in Tayeb Salih: The Genius of the Arabic
Novel (Beirut: Dairal-Awdah, 1976), 129.
43Mansour Khalid, "The Sociocultural Determinants of Arab Diplomacy," in Arab and American
Cultures, ed. George N. Atiyeh (Washington, D.C., 1977), 135.
44See Joseph John, "The Life and Death of Mustafa Sacid: Riddles, Paradoxes, and Ambiguities,"
Abhath al-Yarmouk, 5,1 (1987): 55.
45Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North, trans. Denys Johnson-Davies (London:
Heinemann, 1981), 30. All references are to this edition.
46See BarbaraHarlow, "Sentimental Orientalism: Season of Migration to the North and Othello," alAbhath, 32 (1984): 75. See also Raja al-Naqqash, "Tayeb Salih: A New Novelistic Genius," in Tayeb
Salih: The Genius of the Arabic Novel, 81.
47Ibid., 125.
48Salih, Season of Migration to the North, 146.
49Said, Orientalism, 83.
50Salih, Season of Migration to the North, 34.
5'Ibid., 159.
52Ibid.,95.
53Ibid., 53.
54See S. A. Morrison, "Islam and the West," in Readings in Arab Middle Eastern Societies and Cultures, 258.
55FrankM. Birbalsingh, "Season of Migration to the West: The Fiction of Tayeb Salih and Ayi
Kwei Armah," al-Abhath, 32 (1984): 70.
56Salih, Season of Migration to the North, 49.
57Ibid., 160.
58Roger Allen, The Arabic Novel: An Historical and Critical Introduction (Manchester, 1982), 136.
See also Peter Nazareth, "The Narratoras Artist and the Reader as Critic in Season of Migration to the
North," al-Abhath, 32 (1984): 124.
59Salih, Season of Migration to the North, 134. For a full discussion of the identification of the narrator with the hero in Mawsim al-Hijra ild al-Shamiil, see Mona Takieddine Amyuni, "Introduction,"
al-Abhath, 32 (1984): 22-23.
60Ibid.,49.
61Ibid., 167-68.
62Ibid., 150-51.
63Ghalib Hamzah Abu al-Faraj, Sanawat al-Dayai' (Tunis: al-Dar al-Tunisiya l'il-nashr, 1980), 28.
All references are to this edition.
64Quotedby Morrison, "Islam and the West," 257-58.
65al-Faraj,Sanawiit al-Daya', 194.
66Ibid., 195.
67Ibid., 200.
68Idris,al-Hayy al-Latini, 285.
69AndreGide, The Counterfeiters, trans. Dorothy Bussy (Harmondsworth, 1982), 294.

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