Catalogue


War's other voices : women writers on the Lebanese civil war /
Miriam Cooke.
imprint
Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1988.
description
viii, 208 p. --
ISBN
0521341922
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1988.
isbn
0521341922
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
2001033
 
Bibliography: p. 195-204.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1997-01-01:
During the period covered by this study (1975-82), Beirut essentially disintegrated and men either died in the fighting or left Lebanon to avoid the fighting, but women--the silent, hidden Other in the Arab world--began to achieve a remarkable transformation. The women who stayed in Beirut and who began writing about the war all around them coalesced into a group Cooke (Duke Univ.) calls the "Beirut decentrists." These women by definition were not central in any way, and yet by virtue of their voices and their physical presence in Lebanon they drastically affected economic, social, and cultural structures in surprising and hopeful ways. The author represents (perhaps unfairly) men's war literature of this period as concerned with strategy, ideology, and violence; by contrast, the Beirut decentrists wrote from entirely different perspectives, dealing with the horrific mixture of daily life and random violence, the stress of raising children amid the rocket and sniper attacks, the mixture of love, death, abandonment, and boredom that this war, like all wars, produced. Cooke also places these writers in the context of contemporary feminist literary theory, charting the development of true selfhood and independence, and she delineates the qualities that argue for their deserved place in the canon of modern Middle Eastern literature. A useful study of a truly new area in war literature. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate collections and up. B. Adler Valdosta State University
Summaries
Main Description
This book challenges the assumption that men write of war, women of the hearth. The Lebanese war has seen the publication of many more works of fiction by women than by men. Miriam Cooke has termed these women the Beirut Decentrists, as they are decentred or excluded from both literary canon and social discourse. Although they may not share religious or political affiliation, they do share a perspective, which holds them together. The author traces the transformation in consciousness that has taken place among women who observed and recorded the progress towards chaos in Lebanon. During the so-called 'two-year' war of 1975-6 little comment was made about those (usually men in search of economic security) who left the saturnalia of violence, but with time attitudes changed. Women became aware that they had stayed out of a sense of responsibility for others and that they had survived. Consciousness of survival was catalytic: the Beirut Decentrists began to describe a society that had gone beyond the masculinisation normal in most wars and achieved an almost unprecedented fernininisation. Emigration, the expected behaviour for men before 1975, was rejected. Staying, the expected behaviour for women before 1975, became the sine qua non for Lebanese citizenship. The writings of the Beirut Decentrists offer hope of a way out of the anarchy. If men and women could espouse the Lebanese women's sense of responsibility, the energy that had fuelled the unrelenting savagery could be turned to reconstruction. But that was before the invasion of 1982.
Main Description
By examining the writings of Lebanese women she calls the Beirut Decentrists, Miriam Cooke challenges the notion that only men write about war. Although of differing political and religious beliefs, it is these Decentrists--women bound by common exclusion from both the literary canon and social discourse--whose vision will rebuild shattered Lebanon. The author traces the transformation in consciousness that took place among women who observed and recorded the progress toward chaos in Lebanon. During the so-called two-year war of 1975-6, little comment was made about those who left the cauldron of violence (usually men in search of economic security), but with time attitudes changed. Women became increasingly aware that they had stayed out of responsibility for others and that they had survived. This growing awareness served as a catalyst, and the Beirut Decentrists began describing a society that had gone beyond the masculinization normal in most wars and achieved an almost unprecedented feminization. Emigration, expected behavior for men before 1975, was rejected; staying, expected behavior for women before 1975, became the standard of Lebanese citizenship. The writings of the Beirut Decentrists offer a way out of anarchy. If men and women could espouse the Lebanese woman's sense of responsibility, the energy that fueled unrelenting savagery could be turned to reconstruction.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements
Introduction
A Different Experience
Danse macabre
The need for a myth
In a new voice
A Different Expression
Women's voices in Arabic literature
Responsibility
A New Consciousness
Then I would like to resurrect
Flight against time
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem