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Full Access The Traumatic Subjectivity of un Allāh Ibrāhīm’s Dhāt

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The Traumatic Subjectivity of un Allāh Ibrāhīm’s Dhāt

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AbstractIn contrast with previous readings of un Allāh Ibrāhīm’s Dhāt, this article argues that the novel’s conceptual center is not simply a socio-political critique of materialism, but rather a case of psychological trauma, of which materialism is just a symptom. By examining narrative structure and temporality, this article theorizes the affects of trauma towards explaining how an entire Egyptian generation came to experience the past, or history, as a depressing process of displacement that ultimately leads to alienation from environment and self. Exploring the meaning of trauma and its ethical and psychological side effects, this article also elaborates on how gossip transforms trauma into a socially contagious disease. Reading the novel back into the standard genealogy of Arabic literature, it could be viewed as a concluding note of the 1960s generation and a precursor of the 1990s generation, and of the so-called novel of the “closed horizon.”

Affiliations: 1: University of Texas at Austin, URL:


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