“Kadhim J. Hassan has succeeded in writing the perfect guide to the Arab novel” —Zuzana Kratka, bulletin of selected books by PEN International
Less concerned with literary criticism and more focused on the development of the narrative genre in Arabic literature since 1834, Hassan analyzes the most important works of this period. This approach makes Le Roman Arabe accessible both to an academic audience and to a general readership.
The Arabic Novel is divided into chapters, first according to defining moments in the history of the Arabic novel, which include the pioneering historical novels of Lebanese journalist and writer Jurji Zaydan (1861–1914) and a study of Mohammed Hussain Haykal’s Zeinab, which many call the first real Arab novel. Then it proceeds by country and emerging literary scenes, enabling the reader to browse from page to page according to a geographical area, theme, or period of time.
Hassan delineates the major factors involved in the development of the Arabic novel, and, more importantly, analyzes the works in their wider historical and sociopolitical contexts. By translating the meaning of key expressions used in the novels, Hassan ensures that even readers with no knowledge of Arabic can appreciate the quality of artistic expression in the original language. An index includes all the works cited with the original Arabic title and its translation.