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Trials of Arab ModernityLiterary Affects and the New Political$
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Tarek El-Ariss

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251711

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251711.001.0001

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Staging the Colonial Encounter

Staging the Colonial Encounter

(p.88) Chapter Four Staging the Colonial Encounter
Trials of Arab Modernity

Tarek El-Ariss

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines questions of experience and trauma in Tayeb Salih's Mawsim al-Hijra ila al-Shamal (Season of Migration to the North) (1966). Fictionalizing the Arab-African encounter with European colonialism and technology, Salih aligns England and the Sudan, colonial wars and World War I, in order to highlight the colonized man's attempts to witness, return to, and capture the colonial encounter. Confronting ghosts and memories, recognizing voices and tracing smells oozing from decomposing bodies, Salih's narrative deploys a postcolonial sensorium that leads the reader to expose the fantasmatic production of the East/West relation. Engaging the Sudan in this study of Arab modernity in trials calls attention to its exclusion from modern Arab political and cultural models. Salih's text reintroduces the Sudan into the narrative of Arab modernity by destabilizing the Europe- Mashriq (Middle East, Levant) and Europe-Maghrib (NorthWest Africa) axes through which Arabic literature, thought, and history are investigated in a comparative context. The Sudan is reintroduced alongside Arab modernity's accidents, trials, and events that were also excluded, made absent, or forced to disappear in order for a specific master narrative of Arab modernity to maintain its coherence and linearity.

Keywords:   Tayeb Salih, Stage, Colonialism, Jinn, Sudan, England, World War I, Omdurman, Othello, Trauma

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