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Mnemonic modes in Emily Nasrallah's A House not her own (Bayt Laysa Lahā)

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image of Journal of Arabic Literature

This study traces the various modes in which memory is represented in this collection of short stories by the Lebanese writer, Emily Nasrallah. By placing the processes of remembering in these stories against the background of violence and "dismemberment" which prevailed in Beirut during the civil war, the study reveals the sense of dislocation and estrangement from "home" which is at the heart of Nasrallah's work. It also dismantles the strategies and techniques that Nasrallah utilizes to give a voice to the "voiceless" victims and survivors of this war.

Whether partly recuperative or absolutely tyrannical in its effects, memory functions as an essential medium for the reclamation of the past and the protestation against the dehumanizing effects of war. For the woman writer herself, writing about or remembering the war grants her the chance to sublimate suffering into artistic creativity which finds expression in the act of storytelling itself.


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