Post-2003 Iraqi fiction. Voice, audiences, and narrative authority
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The thesis addresses the non-realist trend of Iraqi fiction written after the US occupation of 2003. In particular, it focuses on the construction and characterisation of non-mimetic voices in this production. Within the frame of post-classical narratology, the thesis asks how the thematic and poetic attention to the traumas of war and migration runs parallel with the construction of narrating-‘I’s that exceed the conventional limits of first-person narration. Such overextended ‘I’s are conceived of as technical supplements, miniature narratives that complement and counterpoint the storyworld – a concept the thesis summarises with the Arabic manṭiq ‘point of articulation’. The thesis is divided into two sections. The first discusses texts in which non-fictional narrative paradigms are unsettled by the challenges of the post-war conjuncture: in particular, it addresses fantastic elaborations of the childhood story (Chapter One) and the ‘asylum story’ demanded of asylum seekers (Chapter Two). The second section is devoted to downright unnatural, anti-mimetic narrative forms. It focuses on two tropes of what has been labelled the Iraqi Gothic: the dead narrator (chapter Three), and the disembodied voice (chapter Four). The analysis of these four paradigmatic narrators of post-2003 Iraqi fiction (the child, the asylum seeker, the dead, and the abstract first-person voice) allows the thesis to address, along with narratological problems, issues relating to the ethics of narration in a traumatic context. Furthermore, the focus on voice involves a questioning of the link between narrative and experience in Iraq.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2028-11-03
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Restricted until 3 November 2028
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