AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 2. May 2023 Pp. 137-153

The Polyphonic Structure in Modern Arabic Novel: “With Particular Reference to Miramar, The Spartan Diwan, and Bookseller’s Notebooks as Case Studies”

Salih, A.Nasir Yousuf A. Kareem

Institutional Research, Al Wasl University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Arabic Language Program, Al Wasl University in Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


This critical study aims at exploring the polyphonic structure in three Modern Arabic Novels. The first novel, Miramar, written by Mahfouz, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. It is set in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1960. The second novel, authored by the Algerian Issawi, is entitled al diwan al-party (The Spartan Diwan or Court) and is set from 1815 to 1833. The third novel, dafatir al-Waraq  (Bookseller’s Notebooks), is from Jordan and is written by Barjass. The paper tries to clarify and uncover the narration method in these three modern Arabic novels that demonstrate a narrative discursive style parallel to what Bakhtin suggests as a Polyphonic Novel. The central question behind this argument is ‘what are the primary features of polyphonic narrative in these three novels?’  The attempt to answer this question clarifies the ways these features contribute to the meaning of these novels. The paper concludes that the polyphonic structure becomes an evitable feature of Modern Arabic Novel and is evident in the existence of multiple narrators, diverse cultures, stream of consciousness, the interrelationship of literary genres, and using poetic language and dialogues.

Cite as:

Cite as: Salih, N. Y. A, & Bwshayr, A. (2023). The Polyphonic Structure in Modern Arabic Novel:  “With Particular Reference to Miramar, The Spartan Diwan, and Bookseller’s Notebooks as Case Studies”.  Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 7 (2): 137-153.  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no2.10


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 A.Nasir Yousuf Abdel Kareem Salih, Director of institutional Research Center – AL WASL UNIVERSITY – DUBAI is a PhD holder in Literature. He was chosen by Stanford University -USA -2017 and 2018 in the Innovation Fellows Program. Dr. Nasir taught Innovation (5 years), Critical Thinking (10 Years), 20th Century Novel,  (10 Years), English literature (15 Years), and Translation and Literary Theory (10 Years). ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9518-5882

Bwshayr  is a professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Comparative Literature at Al Wasl University in Dubai , in his book “Al-Tajribah fi Sardiyyat Yusuf Al-Muhaimeed, and other research,” analyzes a collection of Arabic narrative texts, including texts by the Saudi short story writer and novelist Yusuf Al-Muhaimeed and the Algerian short story writer and novelist Chérifa Fodil, scrutinizing their discourses with a rigorous methodology and insightful critical perspectives. Previously he worked for University of united Arab Emirates. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7212-6185