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Juliette Honvault
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1This 3rd issue is out with a delay of several months, which undermines our set goal of regularity. We hope that our readers who, after two issues had just acquainted themselves with our journal, will not hold it too much against us, and that they will focus on the quality of the articles selected. This issue was initially supposed to be dedicated to contemporary literary creation in the Arabian Peninsula, for which a call for papers was issued. However, circumstances have led us to abandon the idea of a thematic issue: due to timing issues, the coordinators of the feature dropped out. Consequently, it was up to those members of the editorial committee whose research interests were the closest to the issue's initial theme to pick up the ball, and run an issue based on free contributions.

2As such, our objective of covering literary production — novels and short stories — in the Arabian Peninsula as a whole has given way to a selection of three articles on contemporary Saudi literature, while in our new section, “Notes and Documents”, an article by Salwa Almaiman provides a historical overview of the conditions of literary production in Saudi Arabia, as a backdrop to the first three contributions. .

3The literary works analyzed by Frédéric Lagrange, Monica Ruocco and Élisabeth Vauthier highlight the overbearing weight of Saudi political, cultural and social structures which affect not so much women — now a mainstay in Arab literature — as much as those foreigners who have to put up with a cruel brand of racism or, more generally, common individuals subject to the arbitrary power of a social elite which has lost its bearings. From one plot to another, these works outline a country where a sense of imprisonment prevails, and call for getting rid of all borders, whatever they may be, literary, cultural, or political.

4Two more articles expand the coverage of this third issue to two other countries of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen and Qatar. The first paper echoes contemporary Saudi production, as Gianluca Saita analyzes the work of eighteenth century Yemeni writer Abū Bakr al-‛Alawī. He shows how this little-known writer challenged the classical and normative literary genre of the Maqāmāt by taking the liberty of adopting a new language and setting his stories in then faraway India. In the second article, Anie Montigny makes good use of her numerous ethnographic surveys in Qatar, and explores how the Qatari political elite have tried, since the 1970’s, to breathe meaning into their political action, their reign, and into their country's past, by means of regular speeches addressed to their population, and especially to the dominant tribal elements. This paper is still about imagination, simply of a more political nature. Anie Montigny shows the limits of this concept, by emphasizing the current difficulties of the Qataris faced with reforms and socio-economic changes at a breakneck pace.

5Thus, imaginary worlds have found, by chance, a special space for dialog in this third issue. We hope that our readers will be pleased to have them talk together.

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Juliette Honvault, « Editorial », Arabian Humanities [En ligne], 3 | 2014, mis en ligne le 10 octobre 2014, consulté le 15 février 2019. URL :

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Ce document est mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Partage dans les Mêmes Conditions 4.0 International.

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