Reception of the Anglo-Arab Novel in the Euro-American Literary World

Mashael A. Al-Sudeary


This paper will explore the process involved in the transference and ‘rewriting’ of a foreign text in order to show how acculturation and domestication take on the form of censorship which ensures the prominence of dominant power discourses thereby distorting the message of the original text. Culture and language are factors that define reception; conversely, reception becomes the driving force behind a culture and its values. Literature from the Arab and Islamic world is particularly vulnerable to this differentiation and favoritism. Very few works of Arab origin make it through to become a dominant power discourse in the Euro-American literary domain and those that do make it are ‘rewritten’ to meet the demands of its receiving audience. Writers, such as Hanan Al-Shaykh (Lebanese) and Fadia Faqir (Jordanian), are amongst some of the Arab writers whose works have been ‘domesticated’ to produce discourses that meet the expectations of the receiving audience. As native informants, these writers’ works are unfortunately considered as anthropological texts that reveal ‘truths’ about the Arab world and are subsequently used to justify the saving of the Arab woman from the Arab man. In comparing the dynamics at work between culture, language and reception in al-Shaykh and Faqir’s works, the paper will also show how the acceptance of a text is dependent on how close the original text is to the language and culture it is being transferred to.


Anglo-Arab Novel; Literature from the Arab and Islamic world; Driving force; Culture and its values

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