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24 February 1925
|Genres||poetry, essay, visual arts|
Etel Adnan (b. 24 February 1925 in Beirut) is a Lebanese-American poet, essayist, and visual artist.
In 2003 MELUS, the journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, called Adnan "arguably the most celebrated and accomplished Arab American author writing today."
She has said, "As for any serious writer, the audience of an Arab–American cannot be confined to his or her fellow Arabs. Books have a life of their own and no one can determine their fate. The only thing we can strive for consciously is to be aware of the existence of a growing body of Arab–American literature, try to know it and make it known."
MELUS calls Adnan's life "a study in displacement and alienation." Daughter of a Christian Greek mother and a Muslim Syrian father, she grew up speaking Greek and Turkish in a primarily Arabic-speaking society. Yet she was educated at French convent schools, and French became the language in which her early work was first written. She has also studied English from her youth, and most of her later work has been first written in this language.
Caught between languages, in her youth Adnan first found her voice through painting rather than writing. In 1996 she recalled, "Abstract art was the equivalent of poetic expression; I didn't need to use words, but colors and lines. I didn't need to belong to a language-oriented culture but to an open form of expression."
At twenty-four Adnan traveled to Paris where she received a degree in philosophy from the Sorbonne. She then traveled to America where she continued graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley and at Harvard University. She taught philosophy of art at the Dominican University of California in San Rafael for many years, and has lectured at universities throughout the United States. She divides her time between California, France, and Lebanon.
in English 
- Sitt Marie Rose: A Novel (1978)
Written in French, the novel was translated into English in 1982. It was inspired by the true story of a woman killed in the Lebanese Civil War by a childhood friend who had become a member of the right-wing Christian Kataeb Party party. Because of its controversial nature, the Arabic translation of the book was not marketed in Christian East Beirut. The novel criticizes the violence both of a Christianity that is "not in actual communication with any force other than the Dragon" and an Islam "forgets all too often that the divine mercy affirmed by the first verse of the Koran can only be expressed by human mercy."
- When it's Naked, Sausalito, CA: The Post-Apollo Press, 1993.
- Master of the Eclipse (2009)
- Seasons (2008)
- In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country (2005)
- In/somnia (2002)
- There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other (1997)
- To Write in a Foreign Language (1996)
- Of Cities and Women, Letters to Fawwaz (1993)
- Paris, When It's Naked (1993)
- The Spring Flowers Own and the Manifestations of the Voyage (1990)
- The Arab Apocalypse (1989)
- Journey to Mount Tamalpais: An Essay (1985)
- The Indian Never Had a Horse and Other Poems (1985)
- From A to Z Poetry (1982)
in Arabic 
- al-Sitt Mari Ruz: riwayah. (Sitt Marie Rose.), with Jirum Shahin and Firyal Jabburi Ghazul.Al-Qahirah: al-Hayah al-Ammah li-Qusur al-Thaqafah, 2000.
- n mudun wa-nisa: rasail il Fawwaz. (Of Cities and Women.) Bayrut: Dar al-Hihar, 1998.
- Kitab al-bahr; kitab al-layal; kitab al-mawt; kitab al-nihayah, with Abid Azarih. Bayrut: Dar Amwaj, 1994.
- al-Sitt Marie Ruz. Bayrut: al-Mu-assasah al-Arabiyah lil-Dirasat wa-al-Nashr, 1979.
in French 
- Paris mis a nu. France: Editions Tamyras, 2011.
- Ce ciel qui n'est pas. Paris: LHarmattan, 1997.
- Ce Ciel qui n'est pas. Bilingual edition (French-Arabic): Tunis: Tawbad, 2008.
- Rachid Korachi: Ecriture passion, with Rachid Korachi and Jamel-Eddine Bencheikh. Alger: Galerie Mhamed Issiakhem, 1988.
- L'apocalypse arabe. Paris: Papyrus Editions, 1980.
- Sitt Marie Rose. Paris: Des Femmes, 1978.
- Jbu: Suivi de l'Express Beyrouth enfer. Paris: P.J. Oswald, 1973.
Critical reception 
- Amireh, Amal; "Bearing Witness: The Politics of Form in Etel Adnan's Sitt Marie Rose." Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, 2005 Fall; 14 (3): 251-63. (journal article)
- Amyuni, Mona Takieddine. "Etel Adnan & Hoda Barakat: De-Centered Perspectives, Subversive Voices." IN: Poetry's Voice-Society's Norms: Forms of Interaction between Middle Eastern Writers and Their Societies. Ed. Andreas Pflitsch and Barbara Winckler. Wiesbaden, Germany: Reichert; 2006. pp. 211–21
- Cassidy, Madeline. "'Love Is a Supreme Violence': The Deconstruction of Gendered Space in Etel Atnan's Sitt Marie Rose." IN: Violence, Silence, and Anger: Women's Writing as Transgression. Ed. Deirdre Lashgari. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia; 1995. pp. 282–90
- Champagne, John G. "Among Good Christian Peoples: Teaching Etel Adnan's Sitt Marie Rose." College Literature, 2000 Fall; 27 (3): 47-70.
- Fernea, Elizabeth. "The Case of Sitt Marie Rose: An Ethnographic Novel from the Modern Middle East." IN: Literature and Anthropology. Ed. Philip Dennis and Wendell Aycock. Lubbock: Texas Tech UP; 1989. pp. 153–164
- Foster, Thomas. "Circles of Oppression, Circles of Repression: Etel Adnan's Sitt Marie Rose." PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 1995 Jan; 110 (1): 59-74.
- Ghandour, Sabah. "Gender, Postcolonial Subject, and the Lebanese Civil War in Sitt Marie Rose." IN: The Postcolonial Crescent: Islam's Impact on Contemporary Literature. Ed. John C. Hawley. New York, NY: Peter Lang; 1998. pp. 155–65
- Hajjar, Jacqueline A. "Death, Gangrene of the Soul, in Sitt Marie Rose by Etel Adnan." Revue Celfan/Celfan Review, 1988 May; 7 (3): 27-33.
- Hartman, Michelle. "'This Sweet/Sweet Music': Jazz, Sam Cooke, and Reading Arab American Literary Identities." MELUS: The Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, 2006 Winter; 31 (4): 145-65.
- Karnoub, Elisabeth. "'Une Humanité qui ne cesse de crucifier le Christ': Réécriture du sacrifice christique dans Sitt Marie Rose de Etel Adnan." IN: Victims and Victimization in French and Francophone Literature. Ed. Buford Norman. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi; 2005. pp. 59–71
- Kilpatrick, Hilary. "Interview with Etel Adnan (Lebanon)." IN: Unheard Words: Women and Literature in Africa, the Arab World, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. Ed. Mineke Schipper. Trans. Barbara Potter Fasting. London: Allison & Busby; 1985. pp. 114–120
- Layoun, Mary N. "Translation, Cultural Transgression and Tribute, and Leaden Feet." IN: Between Languages and Cultures: Translation and Cross-Cultural Texts. Ed. Anuradha Dingwaney and Carol Maier. Pittsburgh, PA: U of Pittsburgh P; 1995. pp. 267–89
- Majaj, Lisa Suhair. “Voice, Representation and Resistance: Etel Adnan’s Sitt Marie Rose.” Intersections: Gender, Nation and Community in Arab Women’s Novels. Ed. Lisa Suhair Majaj, Paula W. Sunderman and Therese Saliba. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ. Press, 2002. 200-230.
- Majaj, Lisa Suhair and Amal Amireh. Etel Adnan: Critical Essays on the Arab-American Writer and Artist. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Co, 2002.
- Marie, Elisabeth Anne. Sacrifice, sacrifée, sacrificatrice: L'étrange triptyque: Sacrifices au féminin dans trois romans francophones libanais. Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 2003 May; 63 (11): 3961. U of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2002.
- Mejcher-Atassi, Sonja. "Breaking the Silence: Etel Adnan's Sitt Marie Rose and The Arab Apocalypse." IN: Poetry's Voice-Society's Norms: Forms of Interaction between Middle Eastern Writers and Their Societies. Ed. Andreas Pflitsch and Barbara Winckler. Wiesbaden, Germany: Reichert; 2006. pp. 201–10
- Mustafa, Daliya Sa'id (translator). "Al-Kitabah bi-lughah ajnabiyyah." Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, 2000; 20: 133-43 (Arabic section); 300-01 (English section).
- Muzaffar, May. "Iytil 'Adnan: Qarinat al-nur wa-al-ma'." Arabi, 2007 Feb; 579: 64-68.
- Obank, Margaret. "Private Syntheses and Multiple Identities." Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, 1998 June; 2: 59-61.
- Shoaib, Mahwash. "Surpassing Borders and 'Folded Maps': Etel Adnan's Location in There." Studies in the Humanities, 2003 June-Dec; 30 (1-2): 21-28.
- Willis, Mary-Angela. "Francophone Literature of the Middle East by Women: Breaking the Walls of Silence." IN: Francophone Post-Colonial Cultures: Critical Essays. Ed. Kamal Salhi. Lanham, MD: Lexington; 2003. pp. 64–74
- Willis, Mary-Angela. La Guerre démasquée à travers la voix féminine dans Sitt Marie Rose d'Etel Adnan et Coquelicot du massacre d'Evelyne Accad. Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 2002 Mar; 62 (9): 3061. U of Alabama, 2001.
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- Website of Etel Adnan
- Translated excerpt from Sitt Marie Rose
- Culturebase (in German)
- Anne Mullin Burnham, Reflections in Women's Eyes, 1994, Saudi Aramco World