Cover image for Opening the gates : a century of Arab feminist writing
Title:
Opening the gates : a century of Arab feminist writing
Author:
Badran, Margot.
Publication Information:
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, [1990]

©1990
Physical Description:
xxxvi, 412 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Published by arrangement with Virago Press, London"--T.p. verso.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780253311214

9780253205773
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library HQ1784 .O64 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Opening the Gates includes more than sixty selections, drawn from almost the entire Arab world. Arranged around the themes of awareness, rejection, and activism, the selections give strong voice universally held yearnings often in conflict with deep-seated traditions.


Summary

Opening the Gates includes more than sixty selections, drawn from almost the entire Arab world. Arranged around the themes of awareness, rejection, and activism, the selections give strong voice universally held yearnings often in conflict with deep-seated traditions.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

An impressive collection of more than 50 pieces--essays, poems, folktales, short stories, memoirs, film scripts, lectures/speeches--by Arab women challenging the widely held view of Middle Eastern women as submissive nonthinkers to whom feminism is a foreign concept. Many of these diverse pieces, some a century old, make their English debut here and range from coarse but deep-felt ponderings to polished art. Although the editors are academics specializing in Egyptian literature, they have taken particular care to include works representing almost the entire Arab world: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Mauritius, Algeria, Morocco, and North Yemen. The writings are arranged around the themes of awareness, rejection, and activism, and give strong voice to universally held yearnings that brush up against tradition. A valuable anthology that helps bridge the gap in feminist discourse on a global scale. With editors' notes and commentary, and an introduction that examines in depth the historical and social contexts of these selections. --Mary Banas


Publisher's Weekly Review

This collection of stories, speeches, essays, poems and memoirs bears fierce testimony to a tradition of brave Arab feminist writing in the face of subjugation by a Muslim patriarchy. Palestinian Fadwa Tuqan's father demanded that she compose political poetry yet kept her secluded from the outside world. Zainaba (last name omitted), a nurse from Mauritania, West Africa, who herself underwent female circumcision, or clitoridectomy, says, ``It is not a sin if it is not done, but it is better if it is,'' and exhorts a group of midwives to modify the disfigurement (``A woman with no clitoris is like a mud wall, a piece of cardboard, without spark, without goals, without desire. . . . It must not be all cut off!'') and to use antiseptics. And Egyptian Alifa Rifaat, who wrote in the secrecy of her bathroom until her husband's death, offers stories about a girl undergoing a clitoridectomy and about a bride who fears her husband will discover she isn't a virgin so she inserts powdered glass inside herself to draw blood on her wedding night. Egyptians Ihsan Assal's and Andree Chedid's fiction depicts, respectively, a husband who incarcerates his ``recalcitrant'' young wife with the permission of the courts and a 60-year-old woman who plots the murder of her husband. An editorial by Egyptian Amina Said laments the return of the veil. Badran translated and edited Harem Years: The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist, 1879-1924 ; Cooke is the author of War's Other Voices: Women Writers in the Lebanese Civil War. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

An impressive collection of more than 50 pieces--essays, poems, folktales, short stories, memoirs, film scripts, lectures/speeches--by Arab women challenging the widely held view of Middle Eastern women as submissive nonthinkers to whom feminism is a foreign concept. Many of these diverse pieces, some a century old, make their English debut here and range from coarse but deep-felt ponderings to polished art. Although the editors are academics specializing in Egyptian literature, they have taken particular care to include works representing almost the entire Arab world: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Mauritius, Algeria, Morocco, and North Yemen. The writings are arranged around the themes of awareness, rejection, and activism, and give strong voice to universally held yearnings that brush up against tradition. A valuable anthology that helps bridge the gap in feminist discourse on a global scale. With editors' notes and commentary, and an introduction that examines in depth the historical and social contexts of these selections. --Mary Banas


Publisher's Weekly Review

This collection of stories, speeches, essays, poems and memoirs bears fierce testimony to a tradition of brave Arab feminist writing in the face of subjugation by a Muslim patriarchy. Palestinian Fadwa Tuqan's father demanded that she compose political poetry yet kept her secluded from the outside world. Zainaba (last name omitted), a nurse from Mauritania, West Africa, who herself underwent female circumcision, or clitoridectomy, says, ``It is not a sin if it is not done, but it is better if it is,'' and exhorts a group of midwives to modify the disfigurement (``A woman with no clitoris is like a mud wall, a piece of cardboard, without spark, without goals, without desire. . . . It must not be all cut off!'') and to use antiseptics. And Egyptian Alifa Rifaat, who wrote in the secrecy of her bathroom until her husband's death, offers stories about a girl undergoing a clitoridectomy and about a bride who fears her husband will discover she isn't a virgin so she inserts powdered glass inside herself to draw blood on her wedding night. Egyptians Ihsan Assal's and Andree Chedid's fiction depicts, respectively, a husband who incarcerates his ``recalcitrant'' young wife with the permission of the courts and a 60-year-old woman who plots the murder of her husband. An editorial by Egyptian Amina Said laments the return of the veil. Badran translated and edited Harem Years: The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist, 1879-1924 ; Cooke is the author of War's Other Voices: Women Writers in the Lebanese Civil War. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


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