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MemberJulian Wolfreys

I am a literary critic, specialising in 19th- and 20th-century English literature, and literary theory, with a particular focus on the work of Jacques Derrida. In addition to having written or edited more than 40 books of criticism, I have also published a novel, Silent Music, and two collections of poetry, Draping the Sky for a Snowfall and The Grand European Bestiary, the latter a bilingual collection, in Polish and English (Polish translations by Monika Szuba).

Deposit“The Story of Zahra and Its Critics: Feminism and Agency at War,” Arabic Literature for the Classroom

ABSTRACT Theorizations of the female subject in Arabic literary criticism have long charted debates within Western feminism. This chapter invites a reading of Hanan al-Shaykh’s novel The Story of Zahra that would attend rather to the quiet narrative aporia surrounding a reticent Zahra, the challenge her will to be “look[ed] at [as] a woman in peacetime” presents to liberal feminist literary criticism in English, and what that all might have to do with the narrative conditions of war in Arabic. This chapter is intended for use in the classroom, to be read by students and their teachers in courses on women’s writing, the Arabic novel, war literature, translation, and American feminism; and invites students and teachers to take The Story of Zahra as an opportunity for closer reading. The Story of Zahra offers a case study in which the hesitations of a piece of fiction both warn against the imposition of a reader’s politics of feminism, and yet seem persistently also to stage those very critical tendencies.

Deposit1. Introduction, in Shakespearean Tragedy as Chivalric Romance, 2nd ed

Chapter 1: Introduction provides on overview of the nature of English chivalric romances and an explanation of the historical circumstances of its particular vogue in late Elizabethan and early Jacobean England. It examines the biases in literary criticism—literary supersession and literary prefigurement, and neo-classical definitions of and relationships between genres—which serve to disregard or discount such romances. It concludes by sketching the discussions to follow, on the survival and significance of English chivalric romances, and on the methodology, both like and unlike source and influence studies, used in the interpretations of Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear.