Men, Women, and God(s): Nawal El Saadawi and Arab Feminist Poetics

Overview

Men, Women, and God(s) is a pioneering study of the Arab world's leading feminist and most controversial woman writer, Nawal El Saadawi. Author of plays, memoirs, and such novels as Woman at Point Zero and The Innocence of the Devil, El Saadawi has become well known in the West as well as in the Arab community for her explosive narratives, which boldly address sexual violence, female circumcision, theology, and other politically charged themes. Her outspoken feminism and critique of patriarchy have also earned ...
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Overview

Men, Women, and God(s) is a pioneering study of the Arab world's leading feminist and most controversial woman writer, Nawal El Saadawi. Author of plays, memoirs, and such novels as Woman at Point Zero and The Innocence of the Devil, El Saadawi has become well known in the West as well as in the Arab community for her explosive narratives, which boldly address sexual violence, female circumcision, theology, and other politically charged themes. Her outspoken feminism and critique of patriarchy have also earned her the wrath of repressive forces in the Middle East. Imprisoned in her native Egypt under Sadat, El Saadawi is now among those on the death lists of Islamic religious conservatives. Fedwa Malti-Douglas makes the work of this important but little-understood writer truly accessible. Contending that El Saadawi's texts cannot be read in isolation from their Islamic and Arabic heritage, Malti-Douglas draws on a deep knowledge of classical and modern Arabic textual traditions - and on extensive conversations with Nawal El Saadawi - to place the writer within her cultural and historical context.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
El Saadawi is the Arab world's best-known feminist writer, a novelist and playwright of great range and power known in the West primarily for a 1980 article in Ms. magazine in which she revealed her own childhood genital excision. Until this title appeared, the only English-language book available about her was a translation of Georges Tarabishi's unfavorable critique, Woman Against Her Sex (Saqi, 1988). Here, Malti-Douglas (comparative literature and women's studies, Indiana Univ.) offers a penetrating and admiring analysis of El Saadawi's writing, exploring the influence of the author's background as a physician, her use of Middle Eastern myth, her recasting of ancient texts, her role in Muslim cultural and religious debates, and her creative use of language. A well-organized, readable, and informative introduction not only to El Saadwi's work but to Arabic feminist issues, this is essential for all academic literature and women's studies collections.Beverly Miller, Boise State Univ. Lib., Id.
Booknews
A study of the Arab world's leading feminist and most controversial women writer, who boldly addresses such issues as sexual violence, female circumcision, and theology in her plays, memoirs, and such novels as Woman at Point Zero and The Innocence of the Devil. Argues that her work cannot be understood except in the context of their Islamic and Arabic heritage. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520200722
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 11/9/1995
  • Series: Centennial Book Series
  • Pages: 277
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Fedwa Malti-Douglas is the Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences at
Indiana University, Bloomington. Among her previous publications are Woman's Body, Woman's Word: Gender and Discourse in Arabo-Islamic Writing (1991) and a novel, Hisland: Adventures in Ac-Ac-Ademe (1998). Her most recent book is The Starr Report Disrobed (2000).

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Table of Contents

Dedication
Acknowledgments
Note on Translation and Transcription
Introduction: Paradigms of Violation 1
1 Theorizing an Iconoclast 9
2 Social Power, Body Power 20
3 The Physician and the Prostitute 44
4 Boy-Girl, Brother-Sister 68
5 Rewriting Patriarchy 91
6 Between Heaven and Hell 118
7 Of Goddesses and Men 141
8 Prison 159
9 Dream of Flying 177
10 Toward an Arab Feminist Poetics 198
Notes 209
Works Cited 245
Index 263
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