Universal Elements in Saudi Novel: A Study of Al-Gosaibi’s “Freedom Apartment” and Alem’s “The Dove’s Necklace”

Ahmed Mohamed Aboud, Mohammed Abdulmalik Ali

Abstract


In spite of the short history of the Saudi fiction, compared with the genre of poetry and with the rise of novel in other Arab countries like Egypt, Lebanon and Iraqi, Saudi novelists start to occupy a remarkable part of the space of Arab narration. Although Saudi novelists face the challenge of a restrictive cultural milieu, they seek to go beyond the local and regional levels and maintain a real significant universal presence. This study is a critical reaction to an outstanding attitude that colors the reception of Saudi fictional works. In reading of Saudi narrative texts readers, critics and scholars obviously focus on the local and regional aspects, and consciously or unconsciously ignore the universal perspectives that characterize their thematic and technical concerns. The study, accordingly, explores the world of Saudi fiction, concentrating on the question of universality, a concern which has been and will remain a core issue of critical and scholarly controversy. With reference to selected works, the study is an attempt to shed light on the universal aspects in Saudi novel. The basic and core premise of the study, then, is that the production of some Saudi novelists is rich in universal elements.  The study concentrates on Gazi Al-Gosaibi (1940 – 2010) and Rajaa Alem  (1956 – present) as writers representing the search for universality in Saudi novel. Al-Gosaibi’s Freedom Apartment (1994) and Alem’s The Doves’ Necklace (2010) are works rich in persistent universal narrative themes and images. The main objective of the study is to show how these two texts, like many others, incarnate and present both Saudi culture and universal human values. With reference to these two novels, the researchers seek to prove the reliability of the main premise of the study.

Keywords: Challenge Saudi novel, Universal elements of novel, Human values, Culture, Comparative literature


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