«Countless plagues, wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils»: A New Age of Humanity without Hope in Dystopian Novel ʿUṭārid by Muḥammad Rabīʿ

in La rivista di Arablit, a. XIII, n. 26, dicembre 2023, pp. 105-122.

The 2011 revolutions boosted the speculative fiction genre in Arabic literatures. In Egypt, the consecration of a new authoritarian regime in the aftermath of the demonstrations’ bloody repression buried any hope for liberty, and gave space to a strong feeling of disillusion. Muḥammad Rabīʿ’s novel ʿUṭārid (2014), an anticipative dystopia which takes place in 2025 Cairo, ratifies the revolution’s failure, and depicts an Egypt that has sunk into extreme violence, without any chance of a better future. The revolution opened Pandora’s jar: not only does calamity reign, but evil has become the norm. Moral considerations disappear in Rabīʿ’s post-revolutionary Egypt: in this tormented new world, there is no accountability for horror. In this article, I will investigate the dystopian construction of post-revolutionary space, characters, and time as a new syncretic intake on the myth of Pandora: evil roams on earth, giving way to an anhistorical, earthly hell inhabited by restless souls who did not deserve their punishment, with no hope for better prospects.

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This is an Article from La Rivista di Arablit - Anno XIII, numero 26, dicembre 2023

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Léa Polverini |