602
views
0
recommends
+1 Recommend
1 collections
    0
    shares

      If you have found this article useful and you think it is important that researchers across the world have access, please consider donating, to ensure that this valuable collection remains Open Access.

      Arab Studies Quarterly is published by Pluto Journals, an Open Access publisher. This means that everyone has free and unlimited access to the full-text of all articles from our international collection of social science journalsFurthermore Pluto Journals authors don’t pay article processing charges (APCs).

      scite_
       
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Abject Talks Gibberish: “Translating” Abjection in Rabih Alameddine's An Unnecessary Woman

      research-article
      Bookmark

            Abstract

            The Lebanese Civil War, stretching over two decades of Lebanon's history, features prominently in any discussion of Rabih Alameddine's An Unnecessary Woman (2014), a novel fashioned according to the pent-up frustrations of a post-trauma period. Alameddine's novel manifests traumatic signposts of the civil war, which make it indelibly situational, and accordingly latches onto complex psychological issues. It is branded with the mark of “abject,” which besots its pages, a phenomenon that threatens identity beyond measure, triggering even an existentialist entropy. In making an effort to (persistently) “describe” this complex phenomenon beyond ken, the novel enmeshes in a baroque and a quite wordy style that tells of an arduous quest on the author's (and characters‘) part to find the “right” word for “abject.” Drawing mainly on Sigmund Freud's essay “The Uncanny” and Julia Kristeva's Powers of Horror, this article proposes to skirt the psychological archaeology of “abject” in An Unnecessary Woman. It argues that the Lebanese Civil War is not the originator of the characters’ feeling of abjection in the novel. Rather, it contends that this feeling, already inherent in the human being and thus universal, is activated by abject threats, such as, in this premise, the civil war, its suspect entourage, and aging.

            Content

            Author and article information

            Journal
            10.2307/j50005550
            arabstudquar
            Arab Studies Quarterly
            Pluto Journals
            0271-3519
            2043-6920
            1 July 2021
            : 43
            : 3 ( doiID: 10.13169/arabstudquar.43.issue-3 )
            : 249-267
            Article
            arabstudquar.43.3.0249
            10.13169/arabstudquar.43.3.0249
            07509daf-72eb-443b-8e40-a40834c850c0
            © 2021 The Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            History
            Custom metadata
            eng

            Social & Behavioral Sciences
            An Unnecessary Woman ,Abject,Julia Kristeva,Trauma,Arab fiction,Rabih Alameddine

            References

            1. Aboulela, Leila. (2019). Bird Summons. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

            2. Abulhawa, Susan. (2015). The Blue between Sky and Water. London, Oxford, New York, New Delhi, Sydney: Bloomsbury Circus.

            3. Alameddine, Rabih. (2014). An Unnecessary Woman. London: Corsair.

            4. Alameddine, Rabih. (2001). I, the Divine: A Novel in First Chapters. New York: Norton.

            5. Alameddine, Rabih. (1998). Koolaids: the Art of War. New York: Picador.

            6. Alameddine, Rabih. (2008). The Hakawati. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

            7. Alameddine, Rabih. (1999). The Perv: Stories. New York: Picador.

            8. Arab American National Museum. (2017). “Rabih Alameddine at the Arab American Book Awards (Full Interview).” Youtube. Accessed February 2, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11juSH0M8Ig.

            9. Atack, Margaret. (2019). “Abjection, Derision and Power: Writing in the Voice of the Victim in Three French Post-War Texts.” Law, Culture and the Humanities, 1–19. Accessed December 15, 2020. doi: 10.1177/1743872119879346.

            10. Benjamin, Walter. (1969). “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt, trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken Books.

            11. Freeman, John. (2016). “Rabih Alameddine: ‘My Existence is Uncomfortable for People.‘” Accessed January 15, 2021. https://lithub.com/rabih-alameddine-my-existence-is-uncomfortable-for-people.

            12. Freud, Sigmund. (2002 [1930]). Civilization and its Discontents trans. David McLintock. London: Penguin Books.

            13. Freud, Sigmund, Strachey, James, Cixous, Hélène, & Dennomé, Robert. (1976). “Fiction and Its Phantoms: A Reading of Freud's Das Unheimliche (The ‘Uncanny‘).” New Literary History, 7(3), 525–548, 619–645. Accessed January 15, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/468561.

            14. Hage, Rawi. (2009). Cockroach. New York & London: W. W. Norton & Company.

            15. Hochberg, Gil Z. (2005). “The ‘Problem of Immigration’ from a Child's Point of View: The Poetics of Abjection in Albert Swissa's Aqud and Farida Belghoul's Georgette!Comparative Literature, 57(2), 158–177. Accessed December 15, 2020. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4122319.

            16. Hout, Syrine. (2008). “The Tears of Trauma: Memories of Home, War, and Exile in Rabih Alameddine's I, the Divine.” World Literature Today, 82(5), 58–62. Accessed January 2, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20621354.

            17. Hout, Syrine. (2011). “Cultural Hybridity, Trauma and Memory in Diasporic Anglophone Lebanese Fiction.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 47(3), 330–342. Accessed November 11, 2019. doi:10.1080/17449855.2011.569376.

            18. Kristeva, Julia. (1982). Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. Leon S. Roudez. New York: Columbia University Press.

            19. Lacan, Jacques. (1966) “The Insistence of the Letter in the Unconscious.” Yale French Studies, 36/37, 112–147. Accessed September 12, 2019. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2930404.

            20. Lakhous, Amara. (2016). The Prank of the Good Little Virgin of Via Ormea, trans. Anthony Shugaar. New York: Europa.

            21. Lalami, Leila. (2019). The Other Americans. London, Oxford, New York, New Delhi, Sydney: Bloomsbury Circus.

            22. Mahjoub, Jamal. (1998). The Carrier. London: Phoenix House.

            23. Miller, Bernard Alan. (2015). “Rhetorics of War: Dirty Words and Julia Kristeva's Statement of the Abject.” CEA Critic, 77(3), 320–328. Accessed December 24, 2020. doi: 10.1353/cea.2015.0024.

            24. Pickens, Therí. (2013). “Feeling Embodied and Being Displace: A Phenomenological Exploration of Hospital Scenes in Alameddine's Fiction.” Oxford University Press, 38(3), 67–85. Accessed November 21, 2019. doi: 10.1093/melus/mlt031.

            25. Sheehan, Dan. (2016). “Rabih Alameddine is Angry.” Accessed February 2, 2021. https://electricliterature.com/rabih-alameddine-is-angry/.

            26. Shklovsky, Viktor & Berlina, Alexandra. (2015). “Art, as Device.” Poetics Today, 36(3), 151–174. Accessed February 2, 2021. doi: 10.1215/03335372-3160709.

            27. Tabačková, Zuzana. (2015). “The Thousand and One Tries: Storytelling as an Art of Failure in Rabih Alameddine's Fiction.” Journal of Language and Cultural Education, 3(3), 112–124. Accessed November 11, 2019. doi: 10.1515/jolace-2015-0025.

            Comments

            Comment on this article