By Haajar Boutafi
El Jadida – Arab female literature has undergone a revival recently thanks in part to initiatives taken by the Gulf states to encourage the publication of works produced by female writers.
This initiative resulted in the release of thousands of high-quality novels, many of them winning prestigious book prizes.
This new book is the fruit of years of research with over a hundred novels by female Arab authors read, scanned and analyzed to give birth to this title, “Sex dilemma in the Arab Feminist Novel: a study of Arab female literature.”
The author, Lekbir Eddadissi, is a high school teacher in Safi. The book was released by al-Rehab Institute of Publishing and Distribution in Beirut.
The 300-page publication is divided into eight chapters, and each chapter is devoted to the study of sexual relations from a female writer’s view based on the stories chosen for their novels. Beside these author-centered chapters, the author starts his work with a general overview of the origin and development of the Arab novel in addition to a conclusion that outlines his attitude towards this topic.
The book analyzes the representation of sexual relations in the writings of female novelists from the Middle East and North Africa. It penetrates deeply into the world of women’s inner sentiments and hidden impressions of men in general and on their intimate relations in particular. Arab women have always been subject to mistreatment, mistrust, underestimation, cruelty, disrespect, depreciation and more. This attitude that Arab men haven chosen to adopt towards their women leaves a negative impact on their relationships and later transfers to their writings too. The topics of the novels being studied range from the authority of the husband to the domination of the mother-in-law, from the oppression of society to the condemning cultural norms, and from the concept of patriarchy to the support of ignorance and illiteracy. Arab women lived as victims for a long time before they were able to realize more of their worth in life. When they began their path in writing, it was essential at first to scrub their repertoires from the leftovers of their previous miserable life to welcome their new phase.
This book was a challenge for Eddadissi, who is also the author of many other books that tackle different issues in Arab literature, poetry and linguistics.