Writing Self, Writing Nation: Imagined Geographies in the Fiction of Hanan al-Shaykh

Ann Marie AdamsMorehead State University
Vol. 20, No. 2 (Fall 2001), 201-216

This essay argues that Hanan al-Shaykh’s work is particularly concerned with the idea of national collectivity and a critical evaluation of extant forms of national identification.  Although neither The Story of Zahara nor Beirut Blues is a “national allegory” in Fredric Jameson’s sense of the term, the symbolic texts nonetheless demonstrate how the problem of the nation can figure prominently in works that consciously reject oversimplified national discourses and identities. In these fictions, al-Shaykh redresses the gendered discourses that have undergirded national endeavors through an increasingly cartographic narrative strategy, a strategy that allows the author to map a new relationship between women and the nation.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]