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Construction of Jewish Women in Ihsan Abdel Quddous’s Fiction

Ebrahim Mohammed Alwuraafi


The article examines Ihsan Abdel Quddous’s literary texts that deal with Egyptian Jewish women to explore how Egyptian Jewesses figure in these texts to disrupt, disturb, or offset prevailing historical and fictional discourses and explore his attitude toward Egyptian Jews in general and Jewish women in particular. Deploying post-colonial feminist theory, the article argues that in Quddous’ works, Jewish women represent a highly-educated and liberal community with fluid, transnational identities that serve to foil exclusionary discourses, and that Quddous increasingly has given Egyptian Jewish women, more than any other Arab writer of the period, a voice and an active role in his works. As a result, he has articulated their hopes, fears, and needs in a period dominated by political and social instability. The article aims at identifying and categorizing major tropes and characteristics pertaining to the portrayal of Jewish women in Ihsan Abdel Quddous’ fiction, and how these portrayals adhere to or play on the universal stereotypes of Jews.

Keywords: Egypt, Jewish women, post-colonial feminism, Ihsan Abdel Quddous, modern Arabic literature, stereotypes

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pp. 270–289