Being particularly appropriate to support the nation building processes due to its legitimizing and educational aims (Franco Moretti 1997, 2013), the historical novel has been flourishing in the Jordanian literary landscape in the last three decades. Characterized by highly official contents and a quite traditional narrative style, such a literary genre suits broad-thrust social portraits, with public themes and an institutional regime of truth. From the end of the Eighties to the beginning of the years Two Thousand, the national literature witnessed the production of a number of ponderous historical family sagas, such as Abnā’ al-Qalʿa (1988) and al-Zawbaʿa (6 volumes, 1994-2003) by Ziyād Qāsim, Šaǧarat al-Fuhūd (1995) by Samīḥa Ḫurays e al-Šahbandar (1995) by Hāšim Ġurayba, which are going to serve as case studies for this chapter. As this chapter is going to show, these and other novels attempt to put together an anthropologically multifaceted patchwork complying with the national policy of the “Great Jordanian family”, where social, religious and cultural differences get blurred in the common effort to build the nation. In particular, the literary construction (Bertrand Westphal 2007) of the city of Amman seems to be linked to a pluralistic imaginary laying on the convergence of all differences into a single geographical spot, and their subsequent neutralization. According to such an appeasing narrative, Transjordanians, Iraqis, Syrians, Palestinians, Circassians, Gypsies, Europeans, be they Muslim or Christian, converge all together into Amman and contribute to making it a modern city and a scaled-down model of the nation itself. In addition, the focus on cosmopolitanism is a typical feature of these novels, where the characters move fluidly across a supranational unified space (Great Syria), caught in an endless tension between actual citizenship and Pan-Arab aspirations. However, the notion of cosmopolitanism is quite ambiguous, as Hala Halim (2013) highlights with reference to the city of Alexandria: beyond its apparently inclusive patina, indeed, the literary creation of cosmopolitanism results from the self-referential repetition of certain orientalist stereotypes. This same narrative is central to the imaginary revolving around modern Amman, and serves the purpose to depoliticize any discourse about identity and minority.

“A Village That Harbours the Oppressed”? Amman and the Jordanian Novel (1980–2000) / Fischione, Fernanda. - (2020), pp. 249-272.

“A Village That Harbours the Oppressed”? Amman and the Jordanian Novel (1980–2000)

FISCHIONE, FERNANDA
2020

Abstract

Being particularly appropriate to support the nation building processes due to its legitimizing and educational aims (Franco Moretti 1997, 2013), the historical novel has been flourishing in the Jordanian literary landscape in the last three decades. Characterized by highly official contents and a quite traditional narrative style, such a literary genre suits broad-thrust social portraits, with public themes and an institutional regime of truth. From the end of the Eighties to the beginning of the years Two Thousand, the national literature witnessed the production of a number of ponderous historical family sagas, such as Abnā’ al-Qalʿa (1988) and al-Zawbaʿa (6 volumes, 1994-2003) by Ziyād Qāsim, Šaǧarat al-Fuhūd (1995) by Samīḥa Ḫurays e al-Šahbandar (1995) by Hāšim Ġurayba, which are going to serve as case studies for this chapter. As this chapter is going to show, these and other novels attempt to put together an anthropologically multifaceted patchwork complying with the national policy of the “Great Jordanian family”, where social, religious and cultural differences get blurred in the common effort to build the nation. In particular, the literary construction (Bertrand Westphal 2007) of the city of Amman seems to be linked to a pluralistic imaginary laying on the convergence of all differences into a single geographical spot, and their subsequent neutralization. According to such an appeasing narrative, Transjordanians, Iraqis, Syrians, Palestinians, Circassians, Gypsies, Europeans, be they Muslim or Christian, converge all together into Amman and contribute to making it a modern city and a scaled-down model of the nation itself. In addition, the focus on cosmopolitanism is a typical feature of these novels, where the characters move fluidly across a supranational unified space (Great Syria), caught in an endless tension between actual citizenship and Pan-Arab aspirations. However, the notion of cosmopolitanism is quite ambiguous, as Hala Halim (2013) highlights with reference to the city of Alexandria: beyond its apparently inclusive patina, indeed, the literary creation of cosmopolitanism results from the self-referential repetition of certain orientalist stereotypes. This same narrative is central to the imaginary revolving around modern Amman, and serves the purpose to depoliticize any discourse about identity and minority.
Minorities and State-Building in the Middle East: The Case of Jordan
978-3-030-54398-3
jordanian novel; arabic novel; minorities; amman; nation building
02 Pubblicazione su volume::02a Capitolo o Articolo
“A Village That Harbours the Oppressed”? Amman and the Jordanian Novel (1980–2000) / Fischione, Fernanda. - (2020), pp. 249-272.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/928029
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