At a time when major news outlets, pundits, and opportunists all seem to be weighing in on Syria, readers may find it salutary to dive into a study of that country’s contemporary literary production as engaging as Martina Censi’s Le corps dans le roman des écrivaines syriennes contemporaines. Within the understudied realm of contemporary Arabic literature, Censi sheds light on the even more marginalized contributions of Arab women novelists, thus offering a glimpse into—indeed, defining—a new field for research and teaching.

Operating at the intersection of contemporary US American gender studies, French feminism, and postcolonial theory, Le corps sets out a number of ambitious arguments in its introduction. First, it aims to rethink certain French-language studies of Arabo-Islamic culture that essentialize the body as an ahistorical phenomenon. Second, it questions certain English- and Italian-language studies of love,...

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