Aʿlām al-adab al-ʿarabī al-muʿāṣir. Siyar wa-siyar ḏātiyya
Robert B. Campbell was born in Boston, USA, in 1926 and became a Jesuite in 1944. He studied religious studies and obtained a master’s degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Modern Arabic Literature from the University of Michigan. He taught at Baghdad College and al-Hikma University in Baghdad and did research in Arabic literature as a member of Center for the Study of the Modern Arab World (C.E.M.A.M.) at the Université St. Joseph, Beirut.
This book is based on the assumption that biographies as well as autobiographies are essential to the understanding of any piece of writing and lays open the fact that the genre of autobiographies has been neglected and declined by most Arab writers for a long period of time. The introductory section of this book gives an overview of the development of the four literary genres (poetry, short story, novel, drama), of Arabic literary critique and includes a bibliographical essay on studies on modern Arabic literature. The main part of the book is formed by the listing of 380 assembled authors, each one listed with a short CV, a photo, a complete list of their works and – as mentioned above – an autobiography in which the writers reflect on their life in their personal way. Here lies the uniqueness of Robert B. Campbell’s piece of work and its value for studying the contemporary Arabic literary scene.