Absence in the Mirror: Beirut’s Urban Identity in the aftermath of Civil War

Judith Naeff in Contemporary French and Francophone Studies 18.5 (2014): 549-558.


This article compares two metaphors of mirrors used to describe postwar Beirut. The first compares Beirut to a broken mirror, shattered by its reflection of socio-cultural developments in the region. The second takes up the mirror in vampire films as a metaphor for the role of art after catastrophe. Like the mirror that reveals the absence of the vampire who is nevertheless physically present, art should reveal the inaccessibility of cultural tradition after a disaster. The article argues that both metaphors approach the post-civil-war identity of Beirut in terms of absence, and that both are implicated in a mythical discourse of regeneration.

Keywords: Beirut, Place, Identity, Mirror, Elias Khoury, Jalal Toufic

read more…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *