Arab Theatre between Tradition and Modernity

Authored by: Dina Amin

The Modernist World

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415845038
eBook ISBN: 9781315778334
Adobe ISBN: 9781317696162


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Debates among Arab intellectuals over the notions of asala (tradition) and hadatha (modernity) manifest in modern Arab history in four stages or junctures in history: mid nineteenth century; early twentieth century; 1950s–1960s; and post-1967. This chapter focuses on the last two of these; a chapter of this length could not responsibly sum up all arguments around the field of modernism and Arab literary output across 22 countries extending from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean. I thus begin with a disclaimer: even though the region as a whole shares common geographical, cultural, social, religious, and political grounds, it is by no means a monolithic entity. Each Arab country encompasses its own local colour of culture, dialect(s) and historical specificities. This chapter attempts only to map out the chart of modernity and modernism on the Arab stage in very general terms while narrowing discussion to the three important decades pertaining to modernism: 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The first part of this chapter outlines the major debates around the topic of modernity, and the second part surveys modernism and the Arab stage during the second half of the twentieth century.

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