When Najla Abillama published the first issue of al-Fajr (The Dawn) in Beirut in January 1919, hope infused articles that looked forward to the future of the homeland and its daughters. Key to that future was the home. Using postcolonial literary theory, Stephen Greenblatt’s notion of self-fashioning, and Nan Enstad’s definition of political subjects, this article analyzes a fictional correspondence between Salma and her daughter Mary, published in al-Fajr from late 1919 through 1920. The article argues that these letters marshal the discourse of domesticity—women as educated managers of their homes, children, and husbands—to articulate women’s roles in public, national life. Thus the mother-daughter and husband-wife relationships highlighted in the correspondence fashion women as citizens patriotically devoted to and shaped by the nation, partnered with their fellow citizens for its improvement. This analysis provides a model for reexamining the relationship between the domestic and the national in the interwar women’s press.

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