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Cultural Criticism in Egyptian Women's Writing

Caroline Seymour-Jorn

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Belletristik / Essays, Feuilleton, Literaturkritik, Interviews


The five iinfluential women writers discussed in Seymour-Jorn’s timely work—Salwa Bakr, Nemat el-Behairy, Radwa Ashour, Etidal Osman, and Ibtihal Salem—all emerged on the literary scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They came of age at a time when women’s writing was attracting critical attention and more venues for publication were opening up. This widening platform enabled these writers to develop and mature as cultural critics, resulting in the creation of a successful blend of politically and socially committed literature with artistically innovative literary techniques.

Artfully combining literary analysis with ethnographic research, Seymour-Jorn explores the ways in which these writers generate new patterns of thinking and talking about women, society, and social change. She describes how the writers conceive of their role as authors, particularly as female authors, and how they refigure the Arabic language to express themselves as women. By examining these authors’ works and lives, Seymour-Jorn illuminates the extent to which writing brings women into the public sphere, an arena in which they have traditionally had limited access to positions of power and authority.

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Caroline Seymour-Jorn



literary criticism, women's and gender studies, Middle East studies