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Egypt's Culture WarsPolitics and Practice$
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Samia Mehrez

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789774163746

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774163746.001.0001

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Where have all the families gone? Egyptian literary texts of the 1990s

Where have all the families gone? Egyptian literary texts of the 1990s

(p.123) 7 Where have all the families gone? Egyptian literary texts of the 1990s
Egypt's Culture Wars

Samia Mehrez

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter examines the representation of the Egyptian family in the avant-garde literary works of the 1990s in contrast to that which permeated earlier literary texts since the mid twentieth century. It argues that many literary works of the 1990s announce the death of the family as a literary icon that represents the Egyptian national imaginary. These avant-garde literary representations of the family seem to question and contest an official national imaginary that makes the family the central national icon. Whereas dominant cultural representations continue to reinforce traditional values of the family and moralize its reality, even when critical of the economic and social conditions that surround it, the avant-garde literary imaginary of the 1990s is accused of “immorality”, if not nihilism, in its attempts to unsettle the very same icon.

Keywords:   1990s Egyptian texts, immorality, avant-garde, nihilism

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