“Tradition” in T.S. Eliot’s The Family Reunion and Mikhail Na’ima’s Aba’ wa al Bnun (Parents and Sons)


This study examines the analogous qualities between T. S. Eliot and Mikhail Na’ima’s definition of “tradition” and how the concept is applied in The Family Reunion (1939), a play in verse written by Eliot and Aba’ wa al Bnun (Parents and Sons) (1917), a colloquial drama composed by Na’ima. As influential critics, both writers used “tradition” as a vehicle for the promotion of a new definition of culture. Therefore, Terry Eagleton’s Idea of Culture and Eliot’s Notes towards a Theory of Culture provide an additional theoretical framework that reveals how both critics/dramatists have focused on the concept of “tradition” as a means for cultivating a modernist identity seeking high culture and as a crucial tool in the pursuit of distinctive styles and original thematic ideas. The theoretical concept of “tradition” evolved as a result of unique circumstances that both writers experienced. However, the reflective writing on their own plays testifies to the difficulty of applying theoretical frameworks in dramatic works. In conclusion, Eliot and Na’ima experimented with the genre and decided to keep their plays as examples for future playwrights.


Raja Alkhalili




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