Folklore in the stories of Khairi Shalabi: A cultural approach
Ahamad Al Saghir
This study illustrates the folkloric themes of Khairi Shalabi's stories through citations from his short story collection "Reasons for Burning with Fire."
Khairi Shalabi is considered one of the most prominent story and novel authors in modern Arabic literature. He is prolific and unique in his storytelling in Egypt and throughout the Arab world.
Through narrative language, folktales and characteristics of time and place as well as the people upon whom he relied to create his narrative worlds, cultural approaches to Khairi Shalabi's literature varied. Shalabi has come to embody the generation of authors, poets and painters in the Egypt of the 1960s.
His short stories are centred on the portrayal of fundamental folk sense and cultural heritage. Shalabi profited from popular oral culture, which he portrayed in his stories and novels through his characters.
He was also known for his outstanding representation of Egypt's varied social, political, cultural and historical institutions through the presentation of his personal difficulties and experiences, as well as those of humanity in general.
Among the most serious of these concerns was extreme poverty, which spread through Egyptian society in the Age of Openness (during President Sadat’s time), when society was divided into the affluent and the poor, and illiteracy spread.
He also represented the lives of the marginalised and their different cultures and customs in his literary works. All of this is apparent in his most notable narrative, "Reasons for Burning with Fire."
Shalabi's narrative incorporated structural variety, relying on folk culture, Egyptian neighbourhood culture and village culture. Khairi Shalabi is one of the few to successfully capture the character of an Egyptian hamlet.
• Khairi Shalabi is one of the artists who captured the soul of an Egyptian hamlet in a unique way.
• Khairi Shalabi is an Egyptian novelist and short story writer who was born in the 1960s.
• Khairi Shalabi has received insufficient critical attention.
• Khairi Shalabi's multiple narrative styles
• The distinct narrative strategies in Khairi Shalabi's works
• The dissemination of folklore imagery and their reflection in Khairi Shalabi's short stories
• Investigating the cultural perspective to Khairi Shalabi's stories using semiotics
This study aims to provide a critical viewpoint of Khairi Shalabi's stories, to put the cultural approach to Khairi Shalabi's stories to the test, and to emphasise the collective folk sense and the attributes of the Egyptian character in his stories.