According to localtimezone, the narrative prose was formally based on popular English and French models of the time. Genres such as novel, short story and essay have been adapted for some content. In the course of developing nationalism and social changes, first the family novel, the historical novel, and then the philosophical novel by the Lebanese-Christian immigrants Salim al-Bustani (* 1848, † 1884), D. Saidan and Farah Antun (* 1874, † 1922) propagated in Egypt. At the same time, Egyptian authors tried to revive the Makame with contemporary socially and culturally critical content (Mohammed al-Muwailihi, * 1858?, † 1930) and soulful socially critical narratives (Mustafa Lutfi al-Manfaluti ).
Realistic narratives, then also novels, created, among other things. the Egyptians I. Masini, Mohammed (* 1891, † 1921) and M. Taimur, T. Hakim, T. Husain and J. Hakki . In »The Oil Lamp of Umm Haschim« (1944; German), J. Hakki first sensitively drew the problem of the individual processing of a young Arab’s experience of Europe, which was then thematized more often and in different ways (among others by Taijib Salih, * 1929, † 2009, Sudan, since 1953 London, in “Zeit der Nordwanderung”, 1967; German). From the beginning, prose literature has concentrated strongly on the critical portrayal of social problems, and in the last few decades it has often been extremely literary. It depicts – with psychological depth and modern literary techniques – the social gradient in the country, but also in the big cities, oppressive poverty and exploitation by the better-off, the situation of women in families and society, generation problems, social and political relationships of dependency, mostly the latter allegorical, but also everyday human problems from boring office work to tensions between the sexes, both also ironic, e.g. B. in the Egyptians N. Mahfus, J. Idris , E. Charrat , Jusuf al-Kaid (* 1944), the SyriansHanna Mina (* 1924, † 2018), Sakarija Tamir (* 1931, since 1981 London), Walid Ichlassi (* 1935), Halim Barakat (* 1936) and Hani ar- Rahib (* 1939, † 2000), the Lebanese Taufik Yussuf Awwad (* 1911, † 1989), Raschid ad-Daif (* 1945), E. Khouri, the Iraqis Ghaib Tuma Farman (* 1927, † 1991), who as The founder of the realistic Iraqi novel is considered to be Fuad at-Tikirli (* 1927, † 2008), Abd ar-Rahman Madjid ar-Rubaii (* 1939, today Tunis) and Fadil al-Asawi (* 1940, today Berlin) and the Moroccan Mohammed Choukri (* 1935, † 2003).
Problems of the Palestinians, from forced loss of homeland to being outcast, alienation and life under Israeli occupation, are addressed in stories and novels, among others. Djabra Ibrahim Djabra (* 1920, † 1994) as an immigrant in Iraq, G. Kanafani, Taufik Faijad (* 1939), Jachja Jachluf (* 1944) and S. Khalifa as an author in a male-dominated society.
Intertextuality with classical texts interweaves history with the present (Baschir Churajjif, * 1917, † 1983; Iss ad-Din al-Madani, * 1938, both Tunisia; G. Ghitani , Egypt). Most symbolically, often Kafkaesque, be very short in the “history” (Ibrahim Ahmad, born 1948; Muhammad al-Machsangi, born 1950, Egypt) and in the Roman political and social repression and its consequences for the individual (Fuad at-Tikirli, Djabra Ibrahim Djabra, Abd ar-Rahman Munif ).
The end of the Six Day War in 1967 between Israel and its Arab neighbors led to the “literature of defeat” (Adab an-Naksa), a literature of self-questioning and self-doubt. The critically committed national and individual search for identity through literature continued after the 1973 Yom Kippur War and reached a climax, among other things. in E. Habibi’s (Palestine) ironic novel “The Peptimist or of the Strange Incidents about the Disappearance of Said the Hapless” (1974; German).
The civil war in Lebanon, its roots and consequences were processed literarily by authors from an individual point of view in novels and stories (Taufik Jussuf Awwad; Halim Barakat; Emily Nasrallah, * 1931, † 2018; Hanan asch-Scheikh, * 1945).
The two Gulf Wars in Iraq led to a state-prescribed “war literature” (with competitions for war-propagating novels and stories), which even well-known authors could not avoid if they stayed in the country, although over the years it allowed more differentiated representations due to development.
Abd ar-Rahman Munif, who worked for years as a Saudi Arabian citizen and oil engineer in Syria and Iraq, presented the psychosocial problems of societies in several novels (including »Die Salzstädte«, 7 parts, 1984-89; German) nomadism went directly to the oil industry, a topic that Libyan authors also deal with in their stories.
Women authors devote themselves to the role of women and gender relations in extremely patriarchal societies with a psychological feel. B. Latifa as-Sajjat (* 1925, † 1999), N. as-Saadawi , A. Rifaat , S. Bakr , all Egypt; Fatima Mernissi (* 1941),Channata Bannuna (* 1940), both Morocco; Laila al-Uthman (* 1945), Kuwait; Ghada as-Samman (* 1942), Syria / Lebanon; Laila Baalabakki (* 1936), Huda Barakat (* 1945), all Lebanon; Alija Mamduh , Iraq.
The subject of exile in other Arab countries and in Europe, with poverty, alienation, and bitterness, has increasingly played a role in poetry and narrative literature in view of the large number of emigrated intellectuals since the 1950s, as has the examination of local traditions, repression and values from this distance.