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The Theatre of Sa'dallah Wannous
A Critical Study of the Syrian Playwright and Public Intellectual

Part of Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre

Robert Myers, Sonja Mejcher-Atassi, Marvin Carlson, Nada Saab, Zeina G. Halabi, Friederike Pannewick, Edward Ziter, Margaret Litvin, Sahar Assaf, Mohammad Al-Attar, Farouk Mardam-Bey, Elias Khoury, Dima Wannous
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About the Authors
  • The Theatre of Sa'dallah Wannous is the first book in English to provide a clear sense of the significance and complexity of Wannous' life and work. It is unique in bringing cross-disciplinary scholarship on Wannous together and aligning it with cultural practice and memory by including contributions from leading academics as well as renowned cultural figures from the Arab world. This volume should be of interest to literary and theatre studies scholars, cultural historians, theatre practitioners and anyone who cares about contemporary theatre, Syria and the Arab world. Collectively, the contributions demonstrate the role of cultural production - especially dramatic literature - in providing a portrait of and shaping a culture in the throes of profound transformation.

    • Introduces Sa'dallah Wannous to a global readership
    • Situates Arab theatre and cultural production in world theatre and literature
    • Contributes to a better understanding of the Arab world through a focus on cultural production and theatre
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a very welcome addition to the library of scholars of the Arab world, academics and dramatists interested in the life and work of a leading figure of Arab and world drama, and for anyone interested in the cultural politics of Syria in the last decades of the twentieth century … this volume is both timely and valuable.' Jonathan H. Shannon, Critical Stages/Scènes critiques

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    Product details

    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108982023
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Robert Myers and Sonja Mejcher-Atassi
    Part I. Situating Wannous:
    1. Wannous, Syrian and world drama Marvin Carlson
    2. Wannous and Brecht: The Playwright as Political Activist Robert Myers and Nada Saab
    Part II. Reading Wannous:
    3. Keeping Silent, or the Silence that Kept Wannous Zeina G. Halabi
    4. The Failure of Revolutionary Humanism: Reading Wannous with Fanon Friederike Pannewick
    5. Historiography as Resistance in the Later Plays of Wannous Edward Ziter
    Part III. Staging Wannous:
    6. Rituals Transformed: Wannous, Intercultural Translation, and the Widening Gyre Margaret Litvin
    7. Speaking the Unspeakable: On Directing Wannous Sahar Assaf
    8. Conversation with Contemporary Playwright Mohammad Al Attar Mohammad Al-Attar
    Part IV. Remembering Wannous
    9. Unpacking Wannous' Library Sonja Mejcher-Atassi
    10. A Student of Theatre in Paris Farouk Mardam-Bey
    11. Grammar of Life and Death Elias Khoury
    12. Be What You Want to Be Dima Wannous.

  • Editors

    Sonja Mejcher-Atassi, American University of Beirut
    Sonja Mejcher-Atassi is an Associate Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature in the Department of English at the American University of Beirut. Her research centers on modern Arabic literature, writers' biographies and libraries, book culture, archival and museum studies, cultural history and memory, and aesthetics and politics. Her publications include Rafa Nasiri: Artist Books (2016; ed. with May Muzaffar), Reading across Modern Arabic Literature and Art (2012), Archives, Museums, and Collecting Practices in the Modern Arab World (2012; ed. with John Pedro Schwartz), and Writing a 'Tool for Change': 'Abd al-Rahman Munif Remembered (2007; ed.).

    Robert Myers, American University of Beirut
    Robert Myers is Professor of English and Director of the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) at the American University of Beirut. He is the author of over fifteen plays, including Atwater: Fixin' to Die, Mesopotamia and Unmanned (adapted as Drone Pilots for BBC's Radio 4), which have been produced at major theatres in New York, Chicago, Washington, and Los Angeles. He is the co-editor/co-translator with Nada Saab of Modern and Contemporary Political Theater from the Levant (2018) and Sentence to Hope: A Sa'dallah Wannous Reader (2019). He has received grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the Mellon Foundation and two Fulbright awards.


    Robert Myers, Sonja Mejcher-Atassi, Marvin Carlson, Nada Saab, Zeina G. Halabi, Friederike Pannewick, Edward Ziter, Margaret Litvin, Sahar Assaf, Mohammad Al-Attar, Farouk Mardam-Bey, Elias Khoury, Dima Wannous

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