.: News & Events
The Summer 2008 issue of the American Literary History includes two articles on Ameen Rihani and a significant bibliography focusing on publications about him in the USA. The first is entitled "The Rise of Arab-American Literature: Orientalism and Cultural Translation in the Work of Ameen Rihani" by Waïl S. Hassan, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the second "Response to Waïl Hassan" by Marilyn Booth, Director of Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the same university, including the bibliography for both articles.
Dr. Hassan explores the Rihani intellectual project as manifested in his English and Arabic works with a Hegelian spirit and an approach rarely paralleled with other Arab writers. His play Wajdah, as an example, presents the image of an Arab revolting woman who tries to break all customs and traditions. The cultural transaction of dealing with an Arab subject through a typical western drama style is revealed on a similar level in The Book of Khalid. The author compares between Khalid and Don Quixote de La Mancha where both heroes come from a different cultural background to the west - Don Quixote comes from North Africa to Europe, and Khalid comes from Lebanon to the United States of America. Both burn their books as a sign of revolt against societal traditions and taboos within a prophetic spirit.
Dr. Marilyn Booth highlights the trait of modernism in Rihani's thought and literature. This is where The Book of Khalid overcomes previous Arab novels by establishing a new scope of Arab concerns within a western framework and addressed to the western reader. According to Booth, she considers that Khalid should be interpreted on a geopolitical level that transcends the different cultures around the planet.
The bibliography is considered to be a pioneering document that opens the way for a complete list of English references on Rihani in the USA, to be
followed later with a similar one in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.