Borders and Beyond by Stephan Guth og Kerstin Eksell (eds.)
Crossings and Transitions in Modern Arabic Literature.
Borders and Beyond edited by Kerstin Eksell and Stephan Guth, is the result of a Lebanese-Scandinavian cooperation examining various aspects of liminality, hybridity and border-crossing in Arabic literature and culture. Most of the contributions deal with contemporary phenomena, such as post-war Lebanon, and especially Beirut, as a border-zone par excellence; the oscillating between identity and difference/alienation in exile; the ambiguity of migrant existences between loss (of the familiar) and profit (from the new, unfamiliar, yet promising), between utopia and dystopia, inside and outside perspectives; between reality and the intrusion of magic, or the surreal, into the reality of precarious lives. But contemporary Arabic literature itself too has stepped across the borders and begun to lead a ‘life beyond’, as part of a global continuum, with all the mergings and contrasts this entails.
The dynamics of change and transition are however not restricted to the contemporary scene. Thus, one contribution follows the transformations of the Andalusian legend across the Mediterranean as a process of transcultural migration and a literary subgenre’s wandering through time and space. Another study highlights the interaction between incoming new concepts like ‘novel’ or ‘fiction’ and old indigenous counterparts such as riwāya. The volume focuses on the very processes of change in the literary landscape, the moments of transition from one stage to another, when established traditions are exposed to new influences which cause generic transformations and produce new syntheses.