• Al-Ṭayyib Ṣāliḥ's Season of Migration to the North, the CIA, and the Cultural Cold War after Bandung

    Author(s):
    Elizabeth M. Holt (see profile)
    Date:
    2020
    Group(s):
    2019 MLA Convention
    Subject(s):
    Arabic literature, African literature, Cold War, Literatures of empire, 1001 Nights, Modernism
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Magazine, novel, Surveillance, CIA
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/an1d-9p96
    Abstract:
    In the fall of 1966, Ḥiwār magazine published al-Ṭayyib Ṣāliḥ's novel Mawsim al-hijrah ilā al-shamāl [ Season of Migration to the North ]. Arabic literary critics both hailed the novel in the Arabic press and mourned that it had been published by the Paris-based Congress for Cultural Freedom's Ḥiwār, part of a global covert cultural front of the Cold War founded and funded by the CIA, maintaining an extensive list of high profile literary magazines, including not only the Beirut-based Arabic magazines Ḥiwār and briefly Adab , but also the London-based Encounter , Bombay's Quest , and the African journals Black Orpheus in Ibadan and Transition in Kampala. A calculated response to the 1955 Bandung conference for Afro-Asian solidarity, the CIA's domination of Afro-Asian literature would give way to the publication of the Afro-Asian Writers Association's trilingual (Arabic/English/French) journal Afro-Asian Writings (later to be called Lotus), a broadly imagined legacy of the Bandung's celebration of decolonization, various forms of communism and socialism, and resistance literature in the third world. Season of Migration to the North , oft read as a postcolonial novel, is better understood as a product of American Cold War cultural imperialism. As it reaches back intertextually to pre-Islamic poetry, the wine odes of 'Abbasid poet Abū Nuwās, and the tales of A Thousand and One Nights in British translation, Ṣāliḥ's novel exposes the long chain of empires subtending the dissemination of Arabic literature that left it vulnerable to becoming a terrain of cultural Cold War after Bandung's call for Afro-Asian solidarity.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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