Conducting literature research with special attention to particular nations or periods in human history helps specialists to find new facts that explain similarities and differences between people’s mentalities. Knowing that literature is the most precise reflection of everyday life, studying and comparing outstanding literary works is a way to understand changing life circumstances and the relationships between nations. The proposed research is going to study the impact of the British colonial rule on Kuwaiti literature. The research will be devoted to the key trends in literature that are somehow connected with foreign influence: the popularization and the liberalization of Kuwaiti literature.
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The British colonial rule can be listed among the events that have changed literature in some countries and introduced new trends and forms of literary expression. The close relationships between the British Empire and Kuwait started at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the latter became independent less than sixty years ago. In terms of culture that includes various forms of art and literature, Kuwait is known as one of the most liberal countries in the region even though Muslim traditions are still respected. Therefore, the modern Kuwaiti literature presents the unique combination of literary themes.
The particular aspects that will be paid attention to in the proposed research are the popularization and “liberalization” of Kuwaiti literature due to the mentioned interaction between countries. Prior to the period of British rule, the majority of literary works created in Kuwait was available only to Arabic-speaking readers. Nowadays, there are a number of books by Kuwaiti authors that are appreciated by Europeans. For instance, “The Hidden Light of Objects” by Mai al-Nakib creates a more open image of the country, telling true stories about its political life and the challenges of common people in Kuwait (Tétreault 60). Thus, following the example of their British and European colleagues, Kuwaiti authors start representing things in a more realistic manner.
When it comes to the liberalization of Kuwaiti literature, increased attention must be paid to the relationships between sexes peculiar to the majority of Muslim countries. Traditionally, women in such countries are encouraged to be modest and shy, letting men make important choices at high levels. When it comes to the British Empire, the first half of the twentieth century was the period of the growing popularity of gender equality ideas. Feminist activists in European countries were struggling for equal rights, and many of them wanted to expand the number of jobs for women from different social classes.
Despite the unequal positions of people in Kuwait and the British elite of the twentieth century, it can be supposed that the dialogue between cultures encouraged more female authors in Kuwait to speak freely about their experience and feelings. Among the books by Kuwaiti authors that analyze the emergence of female prose in the country is the work by Ishaq Tijani (Michalak-Pikulska 137). The author reflects on the topic of feminist ideas in Kuwait and keeps track of the evolution of female images in Kuwaiti literature of the past two centuries. The given book will contribute to the proposed research, helping to study the liberalization of Kuwaiti literature due to the impact of the British culture. The research will include analyzing the key themes in Kuwaiti literature presented by al-Nakib, Tijani, and other contemporary authors and drawing parallels between them and trends in British literature.
Michalak-Pikulska, Barbara. “Recenzje.” Rocznik Orientalistyczny, vol. 67, no. 2 2014, pp. 137-165.
Tétreault, Mary Ann. “The Hidden Light of Objects.” Review of Middle East Studies, vol. 48, no 1-2, 2014, pp. 60-62.
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