Ali Salem's The Phantoms of New Egypt (1968)1: A Subversive Reading of Post-Independence Dystopia

Volume 4, Issue 1, Article 3 - 2020

Authors: Marwa Essam Eldin Fahmy Alkhayat

Copyright © 2020 . This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Abstract

The current study aims to establish Salem's The Phantoms of New Egypt2 as a dystopian drama to expose the collapse of utopia and the rise of dystopia within the national pitfalls of the ruling class in post-independence Egypt. This provides an explanation of the title of the present paper since dystopia has been perceived as an escape to dismal socio-political conditions while utopia has been considered as an escape from a grim historical reality to an ideal hypothetical one. Moreover, the present study examines the close relationship between dystopian drama and dark satire since each of them is a counterpoint to the vision of utopia. Satire foregrounds the huge cleavage between a utopian dream and a dystopian bleak reality to underscore acts of resistance and struggle. Salem's The Phantoms of New Egypt is as a perfect example of the 'totalitarian laughter' which is a prominent feature in Bakhtin's notion of 'grotesque realism'. This highlights post-independence grotesque power which is both incongruous and monstrous. Power abuse is also scrutinized fantastically within Foucault's 'panoptic gaze'3 to create normalized and docile subjects.

How To Cite This Article

Marwa Essam Eldin Fahmy Alkhayat (2020) Ali Salem's The Phantoms of New Egypt (1968)1: A Subversive Reading of Post-Independence Dystopia
Bulletin of Advanced English Studies Vol 4 (1) 14-26
https//doi.org/DOI:10.31559/baes2020.4.1.3