“Switzerland of the Middle East” and “the oriental Paris” are some of the names that the beautiful city of Beirut had earned before the disasters of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990). This historical event is considered the most important one in the contemporary history of Lebanon, not only because it marks the end of a difficult peaceful coexistence among the various ethnic and religious groups during the period between the Independence (1943) and the beginning of the conflict (1975), but also because it made radical geopolitical changes to the entire region. At the end of the “Swiss epoque”, the city of Beirut begins to undergo a series of transformations in terms of urban planning, landscape, etc. This paper aims to study the literary representation of Beirut during the conflict, taking as examples two authors, one Lebanese, Elias Khuri, who shows, in his novel The Journey of Little Gandhi , the irrationality of war and its effects on the city and on the inhabitants; the other one is the Italian writer, Oriana Fallaci, who describes in his novel Inshallah the experience of the Italian contingent in the peacekeeping mission in Beirut. Despite the considerable differences between the two authors, the papers shows the narratives’ affinity which highlight the transformation of Beirut, the image of its citizens and the problematic of the assimilation process between them and their city.
Oriente Moderno – Brill
Published: Aug 7, 2015
Keywords: Lebanese Civil War; Oriana Fallaci; Elias Khuri; Italian narrative; Lebanese narrative; Ghada al-Samman; Beirut
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