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In memoirs, Arab writers have invoked solitude in moments of deep public involvement. Focusing on Taha Hussein, Sonallah Ibrahim, Assia Djebar, Latifa al-Zayyat, Mahmoud Darwish, Mourid Barghouti, Edward Said, Haifa Zangana, and Radwa Ashour, this book reads a range of autobiographical forms, sources, and affinities with other literatures.
Taking a comparative approach, Nasser shows the local sources of contemporary Arab autobiography, adaptations of a global genre, and cultural exchange. She also examines different aspects of the contemporary autobiography as it has evolved in the Arab world during the past half-century, focusing on the particularity of the genre written in different languages but pertaining to one overarching Arab culture. Drawing on memoirs, testimonies, autobiographical novels, poetic autobiography, journals, and diaries, she examines solitude and national struggles in contemporary Arab autobiography.