'Torture, Imprisonment, and Political Assassination in the Arab Novel'

"Arabic literature is perhaps one of very few literary traditions that have a distinct literary genre known as the "prison novel." This is not only because a great majority of writers have themselves lived the experience of arrest, imprisonment, and even torture, but also because the history of the contemporary Arab intellectual is one of constant struggle with the authorities. The colonial authorities and their local cronies were succeeded after independence by national authorities who in many regions of the Arab world have surpassed their predecessors in the various methods of tyranny and oppression...The attitude towards the subject of freedom in the Syrian novel changed with the generation of novelists that followed. Noteworthy is the evolution that the works of two important Syrian novelists, Khayri al-Dhahabi and Nabil Suleyman, produced as each addressed the issues of freedom, prison, and political oppression in his own way. Both link these issues with the social and political history of Syria and with the many cultural changes that took place over half a century through the fight for independence and the contradictory tribulations following independence." (From Sabry Hafez's "Torture, Imprisonment, and Political Assassination in the Arab Novel," which appeared in Al Jadid Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 38, Winter 2002). To read the full article, click on the link below: