This volume carefully assesses fixed notions of Arab womanhood by exploring the complexities of Arab women’s lives as portrayed in literature. Encompassing women writers and critics from Arab, French, and English traditions, it forges a transnational Arab feminist consciousness.
Brinda Mehta examines the significance of memory rituals in women’s writings, such as the importance of water and purification rites in Islam and how these play out in the women’s space of the hammam (Turkish bath). Mehta shows how sensory experiences connect Arab women to their past. Specific chapters raise awareness of the experiences of Palestinian women in exile and under occupation, Bedouin and desert rituals, and women’s views on conflict in Iraq and Lebanon, and the compatibility between Islam and feminism. At once provocative and enlightening, this work is a groundbreaking addition to the timely field of modern Arab women’s writing and criticism and Arab literary studies.