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A Struggle for Independence: A Young Woman’s Coming of Age as National Allegory in Laṭīfa al-Zayyāt’s al-Bāb al-maftūḥ

Buijsse, Sandra LU (2010) ARAK01 20101
Arabic Studies
Abstract
Without question, Laṭīfa al-Zayyāt (1923-96), ranks among the most important Egyptian and Arab writers, critics, and activists of the 20th century. Published in 1960, her breakthrough novel al-Bāb al-maftūḥ [The Open Door] chronicles the emotional, psychological, and political growth of Layla, daughter of a conservative, Egyptian middle-class family. The backdrop of her story is the decade of tumultuous nationalist political activity in Egypt (1946-56) that leads to national independence. This thesis attempts to find thorough support for the hypothesis that Layla—and her female body—symbolizes contemporary Egypt.
This thesis shows how—on a structural level—Layla’s struggle to free herself from patriarchal traditions parallels Egypt’s... (More)
Without question, Laṭīfa al-Zayyāt (1923-96), ranks among the most important Egyptian and Arab writers, critics, and activists of the 20th century. Published in 1960, her breakthrough novel al-Bāb al-maftūḥ [The Open Door] chronicles the emotional, psychological, and political growth of Layla, daughter of a conservative, Egyptian middle-class family. The backdrop of her story is the decade of tumultuous nationalist political activity in Egypt (1946-56) that leads to national independence. This thesis attempts to find thorough support for the hypothesis that Layla—and her female body—symbolizes contemporary Egypt.
This thesis shows how—on a structural level—Layla’s struggle to free herself from patriarchal traditions parallels Egypt’s battle for national liberation from British imperial rule. As a quasi-autobiographical novel, insights about the author’s life and political commitment, as well as the historical (and literary) context in which al-Bāb al-maftūḥ emerged, help the reader to understand the novel’s underlying dimensions. The inseparable intertwining nature of the personal and the public imbues the novel, not only in terms of plot but also as illustrated by sideline events, specific quotations, and its use of dialect and borrowed words in the standard Arabic language. To conclude, this thesis finds strong evidence for the assumption that Layla can be considered a symbol of Egypt, and her personal struggle can thus be read as a national allegory. (Less)
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author
Buijsse, Sandra LU
supervisor
organization
course
ARAK01 20101
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
national allegory, modern Arabic literature, Egypt, feminism, Laṭīfah, Zayyat, The Open Door, arabisk litteratur
language
English
id
1608496
date added to LUP
2010-06-21 20:26:35
date last changed
2010-06-21 20:26:35
@misc{1608496,
  abstract     = {Without question, Laṭīfa al-Zayyāt (1923-96), ranks among the most important Egyptian and Arab writers, critics, and activists of the 20th century. Published in 1960, her breakthrough novel al-Bāb al-maftūḥ [The Open Door] chronicles the emotional, psychological, and political growth of Layla, daughter of a conservative, Egyptian middle-class family. The backdrop of her story is the decade of tumultuous nationalist political activity in Egypt (1946-56) that leads to national independence. This thesis attempts to find thorough support for the hypothesis that Layla—and her female body—symbolizes contemporary Egypt.
This thesis shows how—on a structural level—Layla’s struggle to free herself from patriarchal traditions parallels Egypt’s battle for national liberation from British imperial rule. As a quasi-autobiographical novel, insights about the author’s life and political commitment, as well as the historical (and literary) context in which al-Bāb al-maftūḥ emerged, help the reader to understand the novel’s underlying dimensions. The inseparable intertwining nature of the personal and the public imbues the novel, not only in terms of plot but also as illustrated by sideline events, specific quotations, and its use of dialect and borrowed words in the standard Arabic language. To conclude, this thesis finds strong evidence for the assumption that Layla can be considered a symbol of Egypt, and her personal struggle can thus be read as a national allegory.},
  author       = {Buijsse, Sandra},
  keyword      = {national allegory,modern Arabic literature,Egypt,feminism,Laṭīfah,Zayyat,The Open Door,arabisk litteratur},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {A Struggle for Independence: A Young Woman’s Coming of Age as National Allegory in Laṭīfa al-Zayyāt’s al-Bāb al-maftūḥ},
  year         = {2010},
}