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“Prophecies of a Madman in a Cursed City”: The Birth and Demise of Arab-Jewish Literature

My research project, which is within the broader academic context of my scholarship in the field of Arab culture, specifically concentrates on the topic of Arab-Jewish culture, the study of which was triggered by the sheer neglect of the international scholarly community. The theoretical framework is based on the functional dynamic historical model suggested in my previous theoretical studies whose original aim has been to carry out a systematic study of Arab culture synchronically and diachronically. Within this context my research will explore the struggle of Jews ever since the pre-Islamic period to be Jewish in their religion and Arab in their culture ― to be “Arabs of the Mosaic faith.” My aim is to write the history of Arab-Jewish literature in the 20th century from a personal viewpoint against the background of the demise of Arab-Jewish culture. The project bears the title of a short story by Samīr Naqqāsh (1938-2004), the greatest Arab-Jewish writer in modern times, “Prophecies of a Madman in a Cursed City” (1995). “I don’t exist in this country,” Naqqāsh said before his death, “neither as a writer, citizen, or human being. I don’t feel that I belong anywhere, not since my roots were torn from the ground [in Baghdad].”


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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].