Alifa Rifaat - Bibliographic and Materials Research of an Egyptian Author

Project #: 54
Name: Booth, Valerie (; 610-688-0403)
Department: English and Philosphy
Academic Area: English

Title: Alifa Rifaat: Bibliographic and Materials Research of an Egyptian Author

Fatimah Abdullah Rifaat (1930-1996), was an Egyptian prose author, known mostly for her controversial short stories which focus on female sexuality, marital relationships and loss within an Islamic framework. Her family did not approve of her writing; in fact, she stopped writing altogether from 1960 until 1974 because of pressure from husband, despite the use of a pseudonym (Alifa Rifaat) to deflect censure. Much of Rifaat's work has never appeared in English. / My project for the summer is to compile a bibliography of Rifaat's published work and the history of its translation into English and French, as a preliminary stage towards an evaluation and critical analysis of her oeuvre as a whole. Because of the language barrier, I would ideally like to have a student who is fluent in Arabic (or Arabic and French) to assist in my research, although this is not required.

Associated Independent Study:
After conclusion of the primary research for Alifa Rifaat, I would offer a student an independent study surveying the secondary citations and contextualization of Rifaat's work within the frameworks of 20th-century Arab women's writing, post-colonial writing, and African literature. The student would write a research paper situating Rifaat within one of these contexts or in comparison with another comparable author (e.g., Nawal el Saadawi).

Gained Experience:
The student will gain a familiarity with a particular field of literary study, research protocols, terms of literary criticism and bibliographic skills which she/he could apply in a future project in an upper-level seminar or graduate program.

I expect the project to result in a scholarly article on Alifa Rifaat, and ultimately a monograph on the author.

The student will be assembling a bibliography of Rifaat's work, researching the publication history of the author, ascertaining which works have been translated from Arabic and are available in either English or French. The student will then assist me in locating copies of the works and producing an annotated bibliography.

The student should be able to complete most of the work at the Drexel library.

I will meet with the student on a weekly basis, one afternoon a week (depending on my as-yet-undetermined teaching schedule).

Interview Availability: March 6