Brückenschläge (Building Bridges) is the first detailed and systematic comparison of two modern Middle Eastern literatures, taking the novel genre as a paradigm. The study’s synoptic approach challenges, and gets past, the concept of Arabic resp. Turkish “national literatures”, outlining a model for the description and periodisation of the processes at work in modern Middle Eastern literatures in general. An extensive comparison of the contexts, literary and extra-literary, in which each literature is being produced points to the conditions which favoured a similarity of development in spite of the scarcity of exchange between both literatures.
Literatures in Context is a peer-reviewed book series devoted to Near Eastern and North African literatures. The editors want the title of the series to be understood programmatically. They presuppose a concept of world literature that includes Near Eastern and North African literatures. What is more, they assume that literatures are in many ways marked by intertextuality, that they constitute readings of extremely diverse earlier texts, and that they are posited within a field of tensions, much broader than their respective national language. For the earlier eras of Near Eastern and North African literatures, this field of tensions geographically covers the regions of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. In modern times, it has become a space of interaction that has long since included “global” Western literatures (and realities). This does not imply that the modern Near Eastern and North African literatures have severed themselves from their predecessors. Instead it is precisely the tension between different sets of references in modern Near Eastern and North African literatures, or their “local historical context”, which is a great part of their attraction, that remains a crucial field of research for the modern scholar.