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The russian influence on the literary and critical writings of Mikhail Naimy

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2017. Vol. 6. No. 1. Pp. 44-66.
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Swanson M. L.
United States Naval Academy
589 McNair Road, 21402 Annapolis, MD, USA


In the article, the author studies the Russian influence on the literary, philosophical and critical works of Mikhail Naimy, the world renowned figure in modern Arabic literature. His writings contributed to changing its topics, language and style. Numerous researchers have studied the impact of British, American and French cultures and literatures on the writings of Naimy and his colleagues from the Pen Association, the literary league founded in New York by several young Arab-American emigrants. Meanwhile, it was Russian literature that had the most important impact on Naimy, especially at the earliest stages of his world formation. Scholars have only studied this influence superficially, or bring up specific Russian writers’ influence, without generalization of all the Russian factors. The current work shows how Naimy incorporates Russian viewpoints on critical social reform, anticlericalism and mysticism as well as Russian literary criticism into his works. The author sums up the previous researches, generalizes all the factors, and significantly deepens the materials of the previous researches. This paper has an important methodological value, as it identifies the typology and significance of cultural contacts between the East and the West. It also contributes to an important topic that has received renewed interest from the academy - Russian influences on the Arabic world in general and on Arabic literature in particular.


  • • Pen Association
  • • modern Arabic literature
  • • Levant literature
  • • influence of Russian literature
  • • Mikhail Naimy
  • • comparative literary analysis
  • • Russian-Arabic cultural contacts
  • • mysticism of Naimy
  • • modern Arabic literary criticism


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