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The Kuwaiti Female Literary Tradition: An Overview

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins with an historical survey of the rise of the feminist movement in Kuwait. Then it outlines the origins and development of the Kuwaiti female literary tradition, with special emphasis on fiction. This is followed by a brief discussion of the status of women in pre and post-oil Kuwaiti society, as represented in selected short stories by both Kuwaiti men and women writers. Education was the most important factor that engendered the rise of Kuwaiti feminism. A groundbreaking resource book on Kuwaiti women's literature is Laylā M. Sālih's Adab al-marʾa fī al-Kuwayt [Women's Literature in Kuwait] (1978). The chapter briefs about the fictional representation of the status of women in pre- and post-oil Kuwaiti society. “Munīra”, a story by the acclaimed precursor of the Kuwaiti/Arabian Gulf short story Khālid al-Faraj, is a good example of a fictional representation of the stereotypical female.

Keywords: Adab al-marʾa fī al-Kuwayt; Arabic fiction; feminist movement; Kuwaiti female literary tradition; Munīra; pre-oil Kuwaiti society



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