THE LITTERSCAPE AND THE NUDE: HISTORY ESCAPES IN MANSUR BUSHNAF'SAL-ʿILKA(CHEWING GUM).


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Article
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Authors
Olszok, Charis 
Abstract

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pMansur Bushnaf'sjats:italical-ʿIlka</jats:italic>(Chewing Gum; 2008) is the author's sole novel, born of his twelve-year imprisonment in a Libyan jail, and his reflection on the nation's subjection to international marginalization and dictatorial rule under Gaddafi. The novel is centered on a 19th-century nude which confounds all who encounter it, and which lies neglected in a corner of Tripoli's Red Palace Museum. Through this statue, and the novel's broader poetics of stasis and “chewing,” I explore howjats:italicturāth</jats:italic>in Bushnaf's work, and wider Libyan fiction, is depicted through its abject vulnerability and exposure to historical vicissitudes, reflecting the parallel exclusion of human lives from rights and agency. Injats:italical-ʿIlka</jats:italic>, I examine how this is formulated into a defamiliarizing perspective on the postmodern, and on historical trauma and erasure, in which the possibility of narrative is a driving concern, rooted in existential reflection, as well as the real precarity of those who tell stories in Libya.</jats:p>

Description
Keywords
47 Language, Communication and Culture, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 4705 Literary Studies, 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Journal Title
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
0020-7438
1471-6380
Volume Title
51
Publisher
Cambridge University Press (CUP)