The Russian Influence On The Literary And Critical Writings Of Mikhail Naimy
AuthorSwanson, Maria Lebedeva
KeywordsArabic literary criticism
Modern Arabic literature
Russian literature influence on Arabic literature
Near Eastern Studies
AdvisorGamal, Adel Suleyman
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMy dissertation examines the Russian influence on the critical writing, poetry, prose and philosophy of Mikhail Naimy (1889-1988), the world renowned figure in modern Arabic literature. Together with Jibran Khalil Jibran, Ameen al-Rihani, Ilia Abu Madi, Rachid Ayuub, and several other Arab-American men of letters he founded the Pen Association, a literary league in New York in 1920 that lifted Arabic literature from the quagmire of stagnation, imitation and old classicism. They also promoted the new generation of Arab writers and made it an active force in Arab nationalism. Numerous researchers have studied the impact of British, American and French cultures and literatures on the Pen Association's creative writings. Meanwhile it was Russian literature that had the most important impact on Naimy, as well as on some other members of this literary association (though less). This influence has still only been studied superficially aside from some Soviet era analyses. My dissertation makes a much-needed contribution to this blank spot, since the Russian literary critic Vissarion Belinskiī (1811-1848) and the towering figure of Leo Tolstoī (1828-1910) contributed greatly to the foundation of the modern Arabic literature. My dissertation traces Mikhail Naimy's Russian Orthodox heritage in Lebanon, his education in Poltava, Ukraine, and his readings of Belinskiī and Tolstoī to show how he incorporates critical social reform, anticlericalism and mysticism into his important Arabic language works. It also shows the influence of the Russian literary criticism on Naimy's critical articles. My dissertation sheds light on global literary processes, as Naimy was able to synthesize Russian, European and American literary traditions into his native Arabic heritage. This integration is an important part of the evolution of modern Arabic literature and an interesting phenomenon that emerged in the American melting pot of the early twentieth century. My research has significant methodological value, as it will identify the typology and significance of cultural contacts, based on the example of influence mentioned above. It will also contribute to an important topic of the renewed interest in the academy - Russian influences and impacts in the Middle East and in Arabic culture and literature.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Near Eastern Studies