Muna Jabbur
, (1942-64), (منى جبور) Lebanese novelist.  Muna Jabbur's first novel, Fattah tafiha (Silly Girl) 1962 sets out from the language forged by Layla Ba'labakki and builds on its aesthetically. In so doing, she sets the Arabic novel written by women in Lebanon on a new path, breaking down the walls of the female subject to reveal its re pressed, inner kernel. In modern Beirut, at the time of the arrival and advancement of knowledge and the mixing of men and women, female repression comes out into the light of writing. The discourse points to the subject's capacity for self-awareness and the courage to strip it bare.

Jabbur's language in her second novel, al-Ghirban wa-l-musuh al-bayda’ (The Ravens and the White Gowns) 1966, approaches a confessional mode," seeming to confirm the autobiographical elements suggested by the language of the first novel. Explicitly and clearly, Kawthar expresses her need for her father's love.

She leaves aside the language of the objective narrator to adopt a mode of direct  address, opening a large parenthetical aside addressed not to us, but directly to her father and herdeprivation of his love. She then confesses the truth to herself and to us, “I need love. “ As if recognizing her neglect of her mother in the first novel, in the same style she says, "How I long to know you, mother.” Then she tells us, How I revere her and to revere her I challenge the nothingness that cru shed her and raised me.”

Muna Jabbur committed suicide even before her second novel was published. It seems that reality was stronger than fiction, which managed to expose the truth but failed to take time backward. Jabbur killed herself after leading her protagonist to the realization of her innocence and the recognition of her incapacity: “I understand how innocent and incapable l am," Kawthar tells Hisham.

(From Arab Women Writers A Critical reference Guide by Radwa Ashour & Feryal Ghazoul)


Publications: (Arabic)

  • Fatah tafiha (Silly Girl, novel). Beirut: Dar wa Maktabat al-Hayat, 1962.
  • al-Ghirban wa-I-musuh al-bayda' (The Ravens and the White Gowns, novel). Beirut: Dar wa Maktabat alHayat, 1966..

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