The Arab Australian Novel: Concerns of Identity and Belonging

This research paper examines the history of the Arab Australian novel from its inception in the mid-1970s to the early years of the second decade of the twenty-first century; focusing on the writers' main preoccupations, particularly identity and belonging. The study covers the novelistic narrative, produced in Arabic and English, by three generations of Arab authors, or authors of Arab origins, in Australia; arguing that what defines the novel as "Arab Australian" is not only the author's identity, but also that of the novel itself: its birthplace and cultural affinities, and its linguistic and intellectual affiliation to the author's world. While keeping in mind the dynamics of time, place, language and themes, this study aims to demonstrate that the Arab Australian novel is not simply an immigrant or ethnic literature that can be read in light of such concepts as "cultural translation", "Orientalism", or "postcolonialism". It is all this and more. 

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This research paper examines the history of the Arab Australian novel from its inception in the mid-1970s to the early years of the second decade of the twenty-first century; focusing on the writers' main preoccupations, particularly identity and belonging. The study covers the novelistic narrative, produced in Arabic and English, by three generations of Arab authors, or authors of Arab origins, in Australia; arguing that what defines the novel as "Arab Australian" is not only the author's identity, but also that of the novel itself: its birthplace and cultural affinities, and its linguistic and intellectual affiliation to the author's world. While keeping in mind the dynamics of time, place, language and themes, this study aims to demonstrate that the Arab Australian novel is not simply an immigrant or ethnic literature that can be read in light of such concepts as "cultural translation", "Orientalism", or "postcolonialism". It is all this and more. 

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