AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 4, Number4. October   2020                                Pp. 238 -248

The Impact of the Lebanese Civil War on Weaving the Texture of the Narrative of Ghada Al-Samman’s Beirut Nightmares

Nedal Al-Mousa

Arab Open University (AOU), Jordan Branch


The paper is concerned with examining the impact of the Lebanese civil war on weaving the fabric of the narrative of Ghada al-Samman’s novel Beirut Nightmares (1975). The enormous atrocities and people’s great sufferings brought about by the civil war are filtered through the consciousness of a femrale narrator. The narrator’s self-imposed mission to bear witness to the devastating effect of the civil war on a people and their country is presented in part in diary-like accounts of events. For al-Samman, factual representation of the events of the civil war deemed to be inadequate to portray their tremendous traumatic effect expressed in peoples’ overwhelming sense of dislocation, painful recognition of the superficiality of human ties, and the unmasking of the dark side of human soul. The civil war, I argue, serves as a remarkable fertile ground for invigorating  al-Samman’s literary imagination as is well reflected in her employment of a wide range of modes of representation and discourses, including diary-like account of events, fantasy, nightmares, dreams, surrealistic elements, anthropomorphism, and anthropocentrism.That is to the end of portraying the impact of the civil war on the private lives of the individuals in the most effective dramatic manner. This polyphonic strategy, in the terminology of Michail Bachtin, enables al-Samman to rigorously probe the social, political, moral, and psychological effects of the civil war on the micro and the macro levels.

Cite as:

Al-Mousa, N. (2020). The Impact of the Lebanese Civil War on Weaving the Texture of the Narrative of Ghada Al-Samman’s Beirut Nightmares. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 4 (4) 202-212.


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Professor Nedal Al – Mousa holds a PhD in English and comparative literature from Essex
University (1984), and an MA in comparative literature from the American University in Cairo
(1977). His research areas include comparative literature, cultural studies translation and literary
criticism. He served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the Hashemite University between
2005 and 2008. At present he teaches at the Arab Open University (AOU) Jordan Branch. He
played an active role in launching the MA programme in English literature at AOU. He served as
an Assistant Director at the AOU Jordan Branch between 2010 and 2012. At AOU he has
developed interest in conducting institutional research.