Author of the Month: F. Elizabeth DahabPublished: March 15, 2010
Voices of Exile in Contemporary Canadian Francophone Literature
F. Elizabeth Dahab, Comparative World Literature and Classics
According to Nasrin Rahimieh, Maseeh chair and director of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at the University of California, Irvine, Voices of Exile in Contemporary Canadian Francophone Literature (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2009) is a ground-breaking study of Arab-Canadian writing and opens up a new, exciting arena in Canadian literary studies. Rahimieh notes that Elizabeth Dahab’s pioneering work highlights the history of Arab immigrants’ contribution to the literary map of Canada. Over the last four decades, the largest French-speaking state in North America, Quebec has nested more than a dozen vibrant modes of French expression created by members of the varied cultural communities that have settled there. Voices of Exile examines the works of several first-generation Canadian authors originating from Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and the Maghreb, who produced a trilingual literature that reflects the diversity of their cultural backgrounds. By casting a critical eye on the works of authors Saad Elkhadem, Naim Kattan, Abla Farhoud, Wajdi Mouawad, and Hedi Bouraoui, Dahab explores themes, styles, and structures that characterize the oeuvre of those authors. She demonstrates that their mode is exile, and in so doing, she reveals the ways in which these writers seek to shape their art, using a host of innovative techniques that engage their renewed cultural identity. Prior to this work, Dahab published an edited anthology bearing a title slightly reminiscent of her 2009 monograph, namely, Voices in the Desert (2002) and she published a translation into English of a book titled Comparative Literature Today; Methods and Perspectives (1995). In 2003, Dahab was recognized as one of the Outstanding Faculty of the College of Liberal Arts and in 2009 she was designated as “Most Valuable Professor” by College of Liberal Arts’ Outstanding Baccalaureate Whitney Donaldson. Dahab earned her B.A. from McGill University in Montréal, her M.A. from the University of Alberta in Canada, and her Ph.D. from the Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne.