A Thematic Investigation of Saudi Women's Fiction, 1958-2016

  • Ibrahem Almarhaby

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis offers a thematic investigation of Saudi women's novels between 1958 and 2016, following the genetic structuralist approach developed by Lucien Goldmann in the 1960s. It thus establishes and provides a nuanced understanding of two strong relationships: one between the Saudi women's novel and Saudi society, and another between the thematic development of the Saudi novel and the development of Saudi women's status in all spheres. Having situated the selected works historically within their socio-political, socio-economic, socio-cultural and socio-religious contexts, the study revolves around two main axes. It firstly investigates the thematic engagement of Saudi women's novels and secondly explores their thematic development along with the development of Saudi women's status in all social, economic, political and cultural fields. The close reading of the selected works proposes to divide the designed timeframe into three historical phases according to the novels' successive world visions: tragic (1958-1989), hopeless and bewildered (1990-2004), and critical (2005-2016). In addition, following Goldmann's related main intellectual processes of comprehension and explanation, the thesis demonstrates that the novels under scrutiny engaged with significant historical moments and that their themes develop accordingly in tandem with the development of women's conditions. The analysis discloses that both the themes and the common world visions of the chosen novels are strongly tied with the social status and concerns of Saudi women of all social classes in each historical phase, due to contemporaneous socio-economic, socio-political and socio-religious factors. The thesis also demonstrates that the dominant visions of the internal structures of the chosen novels in each phase have a homologous relationship with the external social structures and the life histories of their authors, who reflect the virtual consciousness of their social groups.
Date of Award1 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAnastasia Valassopoulos (Supervisor) & Zahia Smail Salhi (Supervisor)


  • Genetic Structuralism
  • Saudi Women's Novel
  • World Vision
  • Saudi literature
  • Saudi female literature
  • Lucien Goldmann

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