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Middle East AuthoritarianismsGovernance, Contestation, and Regime Resilience in Syria and Iran$
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Steven Heydemann and Reinoud Leenders

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804783019

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804783019.001.0001

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Who Laughs Last

Who Laughs Last

Literary Transformations of Syrian Authoritarianism

(p.143) 7 Who Laughs Last
Middle East Authoritarianisms
Max Weiss
Stanford University Press

This chapter reports some preliminary reflections on the contemporary state of novel writing in Syria as it links to the persistence of authoritarian rule, and discusses some of the necessary literary historical background for these more recent developments. The climax in Solo Piano Music by Fawwaz Haddad meant an almost inevitable moment of regime violence. Nihad Sirees' The Silence and the Roar has been the most politically charged novel to date. In spite of the gritty realism of Solo Piano Music, and even if there are very real markers throughout The Silence and the Roar that index life in contemporary Syria, neither of these novels represented an unequivocal challenge to the discourses and practices of Syrian authoritarianism. Both indicate the promise of literary transformations of Syrian authoritarianism even as they demarcate the limits of such critique.

Keywords:   novel writing, Syria, Solo Piano Music, Fawwaz Haddad, regime violence, Nihad Sirees, Silence and Roar, Syrian authoritarianism

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