The Maps of identity in Frankenstein in Baghdad: National Spectrum of Iraq in Post-2003

Rawad Alhashmi

Abstract


This article focuses on the English translation of Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad (2018), emphasizing the direct connection between home and identity in Iraq against the backdrop of colonial Baghdad. Saadawi’s text manifests a sophisticated and intricate allegory of Iraqi society in terms of identity and socio-political upheaval in the aftermath of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. Through the metaphor of “the Whatsitsname,” which comprises different ethnicities of the Iraqi people, Saadawi questions the quintessence of Iraqi identity elucidated as fragmented parts of a human body with one soul. I argue that by relying on the metaphoric references, Saadawi establishes the Whatsitsname as a national figure by addressing Iraqi identity on multiple levels: linguistically, historically, culturally, and archeologically. To that end, I seek to underscore the direct relationship between ‘home’ and identity in Saadawi’s text with emphasis on the linguistic designation of the Whatsitsname, the historical significance and cultural diversity of Baghdad, as well as the archaeological heritage of Iraq. In this way, Saadawi embodies the collective identity of the entire Iraqi community in a cogent spectrum and aims to reconstruct the Iraqi identity in post-2003, something that the Iraqi government has failed to establish or recognize. Here, Saadawi constructs Iraqi identity narratives in post-2003 by representing the entire spectrum of Iraq against the backdrop of sectarian violence, political decay, displacement, war, and occupation.

Keywords


Iraqi novel, The Whatsitsname, Frankenstein, Identity, Metaphor, Archaeology

Full Text:

PDF

References


Al–Jubouri, M. F. H. (2018). The Miraculous Identity Novel (Frankenstein in Baghdad) is a Model. Journal of Research Diyala Humanity. 78, 43–62.

Alhashmi, R. (2020). The Grotesque in Frankenstein in Baghdad: Between Humanity and Monstrosity. International Journal of Language and Literary Studies, 2(1), 90–106. https://doi.org/10.36892/ijlls.v2i1.120.

Bernhardsson, M. T. (2006). Reclaiming a Plundered Past: Archaeology and Nation Building in Modern Iraq. University of Texas Press.

Bahoora, H. (2015). Writing the Dismembered Nation: The Aesthetics of Horror in Iraqi Narratives of War. Arab Studies Journal, 23(1), 184–208.

Campbell, I. (2020). Double Estrangement and Developments in Arabic SF: Aḥmad Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad.” Mashriq & Mahjar, 7(2). https://doi:10.24847/77i2020.255.

Hankir, Z. (2018, June 19). “Ahmed Saadawi Wants to Tell a New Story About the War in Iraq.” Literary Hub. https://lithub.com/ahmed-saadawi-wants-to-tell-a-new-story-about-the-war-in-iraq/.

Jenkins, Simon. “In Iraq's Four-Year Looting Frenzy, Allies the Vandals.” The Guardian, 7 June 2007, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/jun/08/comment.iraq.

Kirmanj, S. (2013). Identity and Nation in Iraq. Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc.

Murphy, S. (2018). Frankenstein in Baghdad: Human Conditions, or Conditions of Being Human. Science Fiction Studies, 45(2), 273. https://doi.org/10.5621/sciefictstud.45.2.0273.

Saadawi, A. (2018). Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel (Translation ed.). Penguin Books.

Webster, A. (2018). Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Tale of Biomedical Salvation? Literature and Medicine, 36(2), 439–463. https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2018.0022.

(30 Sept. 2014). A Call to Save Iraq’s Cultural Heritage: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. www.unesco.org/new/en/general-conference-38th/single-view/news/a_call_to_save_iraqs_cultural_heritage/


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.