Modernism and Melancholy: Arabic Poetry in a Transnational Era


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Comparative Literature


This dissertation is a history and critique of modernism in Arabic poetry, a movement that flourished in Beirut between 1955 and 1975. It explores how the poets and theorists of this group radically redefined the nature and function of Arabic poetry. At a moment when newly independent regimes throughout the region sought to establish control over their respective national cultures, Arab modernists fought for the autonomy of poetry. A central part of their strategy was to internationalize the literary field and thereby place it beyond the reach of local political authorities. By analyzing the theory and practice of modernism in poetry, this project shows how the Arabic literary field was fundamentally restructured according to a new, globalized conception of the relations between culture and politics.