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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Strange and Stranger(s): Constructing Hybrid Modernity through a Reading of Latin American and Arabic Prose, 1880-1920
by El Hosseiny, Alya Hany, Ph.D., New York University, 2018, 288; 10750849
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the theme of strangeness in Arabic and Latin American literature between 1880 and 1920. Through analytical readings of novels and other prose fiction of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, I show the salience of strangeness, alienation and estrangement as motifs in these works. In the first chapter of the dissertation, I examine earlier works of prose to provide context. In the second chapter, I focus on strangeness as manifested through sexual transgression. Finally, in the last chapter, I analyze narratives of physical estrangement, such as travel, urban alienation, and disconnect from nature.

In analyzing strangeness, I show its close relationship with modernity. Indeed, alienation is a hallmark of modernity, rising from a disconnect with one’s society and physical environment. Alienation and estrangement are also metaphorical ways of addressing the relationship with the Other, especially if that Other is a colonizer or ex-colonizer. Strangeness is therefore expressive of problematics of national identity, at a time of budding decolonization and post-colonial nation-building.

Finally, this dissertation shows how the early prose literature of the turn of the twentieth century, in Latin America and in the Arab world, has expressed essential anxieties of modernity, and set the course for the canonical works of the later twentieth century.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Halim, Hala
Commitee: Dash, J. Michael, Dopico, Ana, Fischer, Sibylle, Selim, Samah
School: New York University
Department: Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Comparative literature, Latin American literature, Middle Eastern literature
Keywords: Nineteenth century literature, Postcolonial, South-south comparatism, Twentieth century literature
Publication Number: 10750849
ISBN: 978-0-438-17130-5
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