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The City and social transformations in Arabic literature: The Saudi novel as case study (1980-2011)

Alfauzan, Abdullah H.A (2013) The City and social transformations in Arabic literature: The Saudi novel as case study (1980-2011). PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Nowhere has the call of the city been more insistent during recent decades than in countries of the so-called developing world. The attractions of cities and the real and imagined opportunities they offer have resulted in the emergence of the middle class and urban populations at a relentless pace in South America, Africa, the Middle-East and South-East Asia. One consequence of this is that the city has given birth to the novel as a new literary genre with the most intimate connection to the city as it can address the deficiency caused by the fact that the complex social phenomena that have accompanied the rise of the city have not been adequately covered by poetry and have thus been kept from critics and readers. The novel has a unique capacity for probing the undercurrents of city life and dealing with the small-scale events and transitions that bring to life the city and the changes that it has produced. It can offer conclusions about these transformations by looking at the city in relation to issues that are increasingly linked to it, such as religion, freedom, alienation, war and the changing lives of women. This thesis therefore employs the thematic approach in pursuit of what it sees as the urgent need to explore not merely the literary representation of the city, but also the role and impact of the city on the growth and development of various social issues and its inhabitants. The thematic approach enables a balanced description and analysis of the Saudi city and its social transformations through the Saudi novels under consideration: they provide a canvas covering various real and imagined cities and multiple time frames, as determined by the gender, age and the experiences of the various novelists. The chosen sample consists of those novels which best serve the objectives of this research. The period of this study between 1980 and 2011 is regarded as the one in which the Saudi city and the novel reached maturity. This research has emphasised that the rise of the city and its social transformations have been at the expense of traditional lifestyles and family units, and have led to a marked increase in religious loyalty and affiliation – sometimes including violent extremism – in the city, which is seen as an apt environment for the growth of religion. The city has also affected communication patterns between men and women and has tended to break down the collective mindset of the rural community. It has led to both greater individual freedom and to feelings of alienation, which shows the correlation between the two.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
ISBN: 978-0-85731-498-7
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.698206
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2016 11:41
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/4927

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