This study traces the development of Arab feminist literary criticism. The paper attempts to identify and categorise the most prominent studies on Arab women’s writing published within Anglo-American academia and in Egypt. In addition to the introduction and conclusion, the paper is divided into four main parts. The first part, “Gender and literature”, discusses feminism, gender and literature, ... [Show full abstract] and situates feminist literary criticism at the intersection of feminist theory, gender studies and literary theory. The second part, “Feminist Literary Criticism”, focuses on the development of Western feminist criticism since the early decades of the twentieth century. The third part “Literary Theory and Arab Women’s Writing”, addresses the position of Arab women’s writing within the framework of Literary Theory, with particular reference to significant works on Arab women’s writing produced within Western academia. The last part, “Feminist Literary Criticism in Egypt” traces feminist literary criticism in Egypt within two sections: Western frameworks and Egyptian paradigms. This part shows the two main directions in feminist literary criticism in Egypt. The paper charts a history of feminist criticism in Arab literary studies, and aims at encouraging further investigation of Arab women’s literature towards the establishment of a school of Arab feminist literary criticism.
Keywords: feminist literary criticism; Arabic studies; women’s writing; Egypt