Project title: Aesthetic Dimensions in Contemporary Arabic Literature – Syrian Female Writers of the Nineties“

The nineties have been considered as the flourishing period of female novels in Syria. A large number of she-novelists, of all ages, began to emerge in that time. In addition, female discourse in the nineties could go farther than before, because women have tried, especially during the last twenty years, to make their own voices effective in a male-dominated society. They became more aggressive to uncover injustice and social problems in a literary way. On the other hand, recently there is much talk in Arabic postmodern criticism about the importance of aesthetics, its issues and applying aesthetic theories on literature.

According to these reasons above, the present research is structured to study aesthetic dimensions in Syrian novels written by women in the nineties. It analyzes about fifteen novels. The authors of these novels are different famous Syrian writers, such as Hayfā’ Bīṭār, Anīsa ‘Abbūd, Umayma al-Khash, Mārī Rashū, and others. In addition, aesthetic categories will be identified with consideration of aesthetics’ history and some of the philosophers’ theories such as Kant and Schiller, etc.

This dissertation examines female novels from an aesthetic perspective. The aim is to focus on the manifestations of aesthetic categories in female novels such as beauty and ugliness. How are these concepts embodied in these novels? Are the concepts formulated according to male-dominated society’s measurements? Does the she-novelist give a new vision to certain aesthetic values? Is there any shift of these values from one specific field to another? In other words, does beauty or ugliness, for example, contain the same factors if looked at from a female perspective? Or does the author give it a different value which moves it to another field? Besides investigating the narrative techniques of the respective female writers, the present project will focus on the analysis of the aesthetic perspective.