From ‘Ali> Ah}mad Sa‘i>d to Adonis: A Study of Adonis’s Controversial Position on Arab Cultural

  •  Nadia M. Wardeh    


The goal of this study is to explore the cultural worldview of the prominent contemporary Arab poet and critic, Adonis (b. 1935). Adonis was one of the first thinkers to question the notion of tura>th (cultural heritage) and to consider it the main cause behind the backwardness of the Arab people of today. Better known as a poet, Adonis’s role as a cultural critic deserves to be highlighted. The present study aims to remedy this by analyzing and criticizing his position on tura>th which was based on a deconstructive reading of foundational texts. His goal was to prove that tura>th was illogical and a hindrance to modernity or creativity. To better understand Adonis’s view on tura>th, this study investigates it against his intellectual and ideological background, and analyzes it in the light of primary texts. It concludes that, as a secular deconstructionist, Adonis sees inherited tura>th as a “text” retaining a static/dynamic dualism, and tries to show that the static elements of tura>th, which always appear stable, logical and capable of achieving progress, actually make it otherwise. He argues that divine revelation is responsible for the predominance of the static aspect of tura>th and hence represents an obstacle to human creativity and progress. For this reason, it must be deconstructed, paving the way for replacement of the static, i.e., religious elements, with dynamic or secular elements, which alone can enable the reconstruction of civilization. But, in the process, Adonis may, by replacing the religious with the secular, merely be setting in place a new static dimension.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9655
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9663
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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