Prometheus in the Iraqi alley: Muḥammad Khuḍayyir’s twenty-first century adab

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The Iraqi writer Muḥammad Khuḍayyir has in recent years published numerous fictional sketches and articles online. One of the factors that has led to this late flurry of production has been the perilous state of Iraqi culture, especially after 2003. Khuḍayyir has reacted to the threats to the Iraqi cultural memory by writing articles in which he pays imaginative homage to the writers of previous generations (like Mahdī ʿĪsā al-Ṣaqr). The imagery Khuḍayyir uses in his articles is a crucial part of the innovative way in which he tries to preserve a ‘memory of literature’. However, in his fictional sketches, Khuḍayyir evokes a poetics of fire which expresses his scepticism as to whether a recovery of the literature of the past can have real purchase in the current Iraqi cultural landscape. Khuḍayyir’s use of the internet to disseminate his cultural narratives confirms the ambivalent cultural space he chooses to inhabit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-26
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Contemporary Iraq and the Arab World
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2023


  • Muḥammad Khuḍayyir
  • Iraqi fiction
  • Memory of literature
  • Mahdī ʿĪsā al-Ṣaqr
  • adab
  • Digital literature
  • Fire imagery
  • maqāmāt


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