[ilds] Meaningful Arab Characters

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at gmail.com
Sat Feb 27 15:57:16 PST 2016


Another interesting question which raises the question of Postcolonialism, specifically Edward Said’s “Orientalism.”  Justine is full of interesting Egyptians, namely, the Copts, the Hosnanis.  As we all know, Durrell’s Hosnanis are the “original Egyptians.”  Although Arabic speaking, they are not Arabs.  In fact, most Egyptians are genetically not Arabs, although they call themselves such, as in Gamal Abdel Nasser’s short-lived “United Arab Republic.”  The Egyptians lost their language about 300 years after the Arab conquest in 640.  The Copts preserve a descendant of ancient Egyptian in the liturgy of the Coptic Church.  So what does it mean to be a “meaningful Arab character?”  Someone like Memlik Pasha?  And even he is half Nubian, an ethnic group which the Egyptians themselves consider alien to their native “Arab culture.”  It’s probably more accurate to say there aren’t any “meaningful Islamic characters” in the Quartet.

Bruce





> On Feb 27, 2016, at 2:26 PM, mail at durrelllibrarycorfu.org wrote:
> 
> In his "Lawrence Durrell in the OED" (sent as a link below) J Gifford states that "Justine" is "without any meaningful Arab characters". Eh? Sure proof that one can read a very different book to the next guy.
> RP 

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