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The Family: Arab Society In Miniature

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Chapter Summary

Arab scholars, like their Western counterparts, are divided on the issue of whether autobiography existed in the Arabic literary tradition. Some take the position that Arabic autobiography emerged in the modern period. Female-authored personal accounts are ideally suited for the study of mother-daughter relationships in Arab families. The foremost woman poet in Palestine, Fadwa Tuqan (1917–2003) was born in Nablus, the West Bank. The personal accounts of Fadwa Tuqan and Fatima Mernissi reveal similarities in background. Both Tuqan and Mernissi were born into traditional, urban, upper-class families and raised in a harem. However, their childhood experiences were thoroughly different. While those of Tuqan were overwhelmingly negative, those of Mernissi were predominantly positive. Both A Mountainous Journey and Dreams of Trespass provide intimate portraits of Arab family life during the 1940s and 1950s in Palestine and Morocco respectively.

Keywords: A Mountainous Journey ; Arab families; Arab scholars; Arabic autobiography; Dreams of Trespass; Fadwa Tuqan; Fatima Mernissi; mother-daughter relationships



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