The representation of Egypt in Ahdaf Soueif's The map of love

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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis studies the way in which Ahdaf Soueif portrays her country, Egypt, in her second novel, The Map of Love (1999). The Map of Love is a historical novel with a bifurcated plotline set at the beginning and end of the Twentieth Century. Soueif is the author of non-fiction too, especially a book of essays called Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground, “Mezzaterra” being a word she coined herself to denote the “common ground”. As a romance, The Map of Love traces two love stories between female Western protagonists and male Egyptian protagonists. It is through the love stories and the protagonists’ integrated family that Soueif’s representation of Egypt comes to the fore. In this thesis, I use three theoretical lenses through which to study Soueif’s portrayal of Egypt: the use of myth and ritual, history and cultural translation. Because of Soueif’s regard for and personal relationship with Edward Said, it is no surprise that The Map of Love follows an anti-Orientalist angle. Through the use of ritual and myth Soueif incorporates the sacred realm. This allows her to position Mezzaterra as an Egyptian Philosophy at the origin of its civilization. Soueif portrays little-known historical Egyptian political and social figures and facts, and renders well-known events from a new perspective. This allows her to reveal parts of Egyptian culture and history that shed light on a different aspect of its character, revealing how Egypt’s modern history provided the ideal conditions conducive to the formation and nurturing of the Mezzaterra. The study of cultural translation in The Map of Love affords me the opportunity to trace how Soueif leads the reader to an appreciation of the Egyptian culture and the Arabic language. Egypt, having such a unique geographical position, is presented as a space where Middle Eastern, Western and African can meet and co-exist.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis bestudeer die manier waarop Ahdaf Soueif haar land, Egipte, in haar tweede roman, The Map of Love (1999), uitbeeld. The Map of Love is 'n historiese roman met 'n dubbele plotlyn wat aan die begin en einde van die Twintigste Eeu gestel is. Soueif is ook die outeur van nie-fiksie, veral 'n boek van saamgestelde artikels – Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground. "Mezzaterra" is 'n woord Soueif self geskep het om die "common ground" aan te dui. As 'n romanse volg The Map of Love twee liefdesverhale tussen vroulike Westerse hoofkarakters en manlike Egiptiese hoofkarakters. Dit is deur die liefdesverhale en die hoofkarakters se geïntegreerde familie dat Soueif se uitbeelding van Egipte na vore kom. In hierdie tesis gebruik ek drie teoretiese lense waardeur ek Soueif se uitbeelding van Egipte bestudeer: die gebruik van mite en ritueel, geskiedenis en kulturele vertaling. As gevolg van Soueif se agting vir en persoonlike verhouding met Edward Said, is dit nie verbasend dat The Map of Love 'n anti-oriëntalistiese uitgangspunt volg nie. Deur die gebruik van ritueel en mite inkorporeer Soueif die heilige. Dit laat haar toe om Mezzaterra as 'n Egiptiese filosofie te posisioneer ten tye van die oorsprong van sy beskawing. Soueif beeld minder bekende historiese Egiptiese politieke en sosiale figure en feite uit, asook bekende gebeure vanuit 'n nuwe perspektief. Dit laat haar toe om aspekte van die Egiptiese kultuur en geskiedenis wat lig werp op nuwe aspekte van sy karakter, te onthul, en onthul hoe Egipte se moderne geskiedenis die ideale omstandighede voorsien het wat bevorderlik was vir die vorming en versorging van die Mezzaterra. Die studie van kulturele vertaling in The Map of Love bied my die geleentheid om te volg hoe Soueif die leser lei tot 'n waardering van die Egiptiese kultuur en Arabiese taal. Egipte, wat so 'n unieke geografiese posisie het, word voorgestel as 'n gebied waar die Midde-Ooste, Weste en Afrika mekaar kan ontmoet en saam bestaan.
Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.
Soueif, Ahdaf -- The map of love -- Criticism and interpretation, Egyptian culture and history, Arabic fiction -- Women authors -- History and criticism, Egypt -- In literature, Identity (Psychology) in literature