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City of Beginnings$
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Robyn Creswell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182186

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182186.001.0001

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Lebanon and Late Modernism

Lebanon and Late Modernism

(p.21) Chapter One Lebanon and Late Modernism
City of Beginnings

Robyn Creswell

Princeton University Press

This chapter emphasizes the importance of Beirut in conditioning the historical and intellectual emergence of the modernist poetry movement, not only because of the city's suddenly central and yet anomalous place in the intellectual life of the Arab world, but also for its nodal position in the global history of modernism during the early Cold War. It focuses on the antagonistic nature of intellectual exchanges during the period, particularly as seen in literary magazines and journals of opinion. If, as Robert Scholes and others have argued for the European case, “modernism begins in the magazines,” then the same is profoundly true of the Arabic movement. Intellectual life in Beirut was not so much a playground as a battleground, and this war of position extended beyond the borders of Lebanon. The debates between local intellectuals—nationalist, Marxist, and liberal—reflect the global agon between the main ideological camps of the early Cold War.

Keywords:   modernist poetry movement, Beirut, Lebanon, Arabic modernism, Arabic modernist movement, Cold War

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