Taha, Ibrahim

Arabic Minimalist Story

Genre, Politics and Poetics in the Self-colonial Era

17.0 x 24.0 cm, 184 p., hardback
49,00 €

ISBN: 9783895006661
Table of Contents

Short Description

One of the major aims of this book is to characterize the Arabic minimalist story as a newly established genre of narrative fiction that exploits a host of “austere” techniques in order to present a variety of socio-political issues. Believing in “less is more”, Arab minimalist writers hope to generate an extreme effect by relating and saying several things with a minimum of words. The unique powerful effect of inspiring its readers to fight and resist that is attributed to the Arabic minimalist story stems paradoxically from its concentrated, focal, sudden, and immediate presentation.


This unique study aims at characterizing the Arabic minimalist story as a new genre of narrative fiction that exploits many austere devices of post-modern strategies to exhibit a variety of socio-political and ideological matters that affect the fundamental needs of the common people in all Arab states. One of the major aims of this study is to expose the reader to the particularity of the Arabic minimalist story on both levels, thematic and aesthetic. On the thematic level, political, national and citizenship questions are at the top of the genre’s agenda. Other topics, such as feminism and economic conditions, also attract significant interest among minimalist writers in all Arab countries. However, Arab minimalist writers are mostly preoccupied by national and political issues related to their quest for freedom, free speech, and proper interrelations between common people and rulers. In reading Arabic minimalist fiction, we come to recognize that the political crisis in Arab states has been among the uppermost concerns of Arab minimalist writers for the last three decades. On the aesthetic/poetic level, Arabic minimalist story is mostly applied to identify texts that are pared down to their most essential features and fundamental components. One of the departure points of the minimalist story in modern Arabic fiction is ‘blurring transparency’, which challenges the reader and his ability to go beyond the surface, namely to cross the verbal text to unseen texts. Since the minimalist story goes immediately to the point of the text, implicitly or explicitly, it generates a deep sense of powerful product. This is apparently the very reason why the minimalist story is particularly apt for devices that forcefully move the reader, such as satire, sarcasm, the absurd, irony, the grotesque, caricature, paradox, and the like. Unlike long genres of narrative fiction, which narrate a piece of reality or history, the minimalist story touches directly the core of the experience that the writer wishes to portray. Unlike long narrative genres, of well-explained events and detailed descriptions, the unique powerful effect of the minimalist story stems from its concentrated, focal and sudden presentation. Fighting and resistance are well suited to the minimalist story, which does not scatter the reader’s attention to side issues. The immediacy and shortness of minimalist fiction are apparently the very features needed to reach the extreme of challenge and resistance.

Biographical Note

Ibrahim Taha
Born in Israel, Ph.D. in comparative literature from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1994. Teaching at many colleges and universities: University of Haifa (Israel), The Academic Arab College (Israel), Oranim Academic College (Israel), The College of Sakhnin for Teacher Education (Israel), University of Uppsala (Sweden), and University of Heidelberg (Germany).
Since 2003/2004 – Present day, member of the committee of the M.A. and Ph.D. studies in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature, University of Haifa.

Series Description

Literatures in Context is a peer-reviewed book series devoted to Near Eastern and North African literatures. The editors want the title of the series to be understood programmatically. They presuppose a concept of world literature that includes Near Eastern and North African literatures. What is more, they assume that literatures are in many ways marked by intertextuality, that they constitute readings of extremely diverse earlier texts, and that they are posited within a field of tensions, much broader than their respective national language. For the earlier eras of Near Eastern and North African literatures, this field of tensions geographically covers the regions of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. In modern times, it has become a space of interaction that has long since included “global” Western literatures (and realities). This does not imply that the modern Near Eastern and North African literatures have severed themselves from their predecessors. Instead it is precisely the tension between different sets of references in modern Near Eastern and North African literatures, or their “local historical context”, which is a great part of their attraction, that remains a crucial field of research for the modern scholar.

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Afro-Asiatic languages (126) || Arab Women and Gender Studies || Arabic (104) || Arabic literature (6) || Linguistics (733) || Literary Genres || Literary studies: general (121) || Literature: history & criticism (179) || Minimalism in Literature || Political Studies of the Arab World (3) || Political science & theory (22) || Politics & government (68) || Semitic languages (99) || Social & ethical issues (23) || Social Studies of the Arab World || Society & culture: general (409) || comparative literature (4)