The Great Arab Revolt in Historical Fiction: Echoes of the Great War in Contemporary Jordan

in La rivista di Arablit, a. IX, n. 17-18, dicembre 2019, pp. 69-80.

The First World War represents the historical framework in which Transjordan was founded and the Hashemite family was given the power over it. The Jordanian “imagined community”, to put it with Benedict Anderson, finds its founding moment in the Great Arab Revolt (1916), which, according to some historians such as George Antonius, represented a sort of a birth certificate to the Arab movement of independence from the “evil” Ottoman domination. The contemporary Jordanian novel is a privileged field in order to analyse the way events that took place in the years of the Great War are today re-read and employed in order to underpin the official national narrative. From the very beginning of the Jordanian literary life, thanks to mechanisms of control which became more and more efficient over time, the Hashemite State has been shaping the nation also by means of literature, as the wave of historical novels published from the Eighties till today shows well. In my paper, I analyse one of these novels, namely al-Qurmiyyah (1999) by Samīḥah Ḫurays, which is based on the events of the Arab Revolt and depicts the founding act of the Transjordanian Emirate, while at the same time embracing a pan-Arab perspective.

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Fernanda Fischione | Laureata in Lingue e Civiltà Orientali presso la Facoltà di Filosofia, Lettere, Scienze Umanistiche e Studi Orientali (Sapienza Università di Roma), è iscritta al corso di laurea magistrale in Lingue e Civiltà Orientali della medesima facoltà.