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Guide to the Ihab Hassan Papers
MS-C005  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Important Information for Researchers
  • Historical Background
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ihab Hassan papers
    Date: 1952-2000
    Collection Number: MS-C005
    Creator: Hassan, Ihab Habib, 1925-
    Extent: 11.5 linear feet (29 boxes)
    Languages: The collection is in English, with some materials in French, German, Spanish, and Japanese.
    Repository: University of California, Irvine. Library. Special Collections and Archives.
    Irvine, California 92623-9557
    Abstract: This collection documents the academic work of literary critic, scholar, and theorist Ihab Hassan. The bulk of these materials reflect his work on American fiction of the later twentieth century, in addition to his extensive writings on postmodernism, literary criticism, and cultural studies. The collection primarily contains holograph manuscripts, typescripts, offprints, and reprints of Hassan's published monographs and articles, in addition to professional papers and lecture materials. Some audio and video recordings are included.

    Important Information for Researchers

    Access

    The collection is open for research. Access to original audio and video cassettes is restricted; copies will be made for researcher use.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Ihab Hassan papers. MS-C005. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Ihab Hassan, 1987-2000.

    Accruals

    Future accruals are expected.

    Processing History

    Preliminary processing by Eddie Yeghiayan. Processing completed by Jeffrey Atteberry in 1998 and Kurt Ozment in 2001.

    Historical Background

    Ihab Habib Hassan is a prominent critic, scholar, and theorist in the academic study of literature. While focusing his scholarship on the post-war novel, he was among the first to articulate a concept of the postmodern. He was born in Cairo, Egypt on October 17, 1925. The son of a civil servant, he spent his youth in Egypt and eventually attended the University of Cairo to study electrical engineering. Upon graduation in 1946, he received the prestigious Egyptian Educational Mission fellowship and left for the United States to continue his studies in electrical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Hassan has lived in the United States ever since.
    Hassan completed his Master of Science degree in 1948, but soon decided to abandon engineering for an academic career in literature. He began a doctoral program in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his Master's degree in 1950 and his doctorate in 1953. Hassan began his professional career in 1952 as an instructor of English at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. In 1954 he obtained a position at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He was later named the Benjamin L. Waite Professor of English and served as the director of both the College of Letters and the Center for Humanities. In 1970 he joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee as the Vilas Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature, a position he continues to hold as of 2002.
    During his time at Wesleyan, Hassan published work on contemporary and avant-garde literature, and he has continued to focus on these themes throughout his career. The major publications from his early period are Radical Innocence and The Literature of Silence: Henry Miller & Samuel Beckett. In these works, he attempts to describe the characteristics that distinguish post-war fiction from the literature of high modernism. Hassan continued to pursue the same theme in his Dismemberment of Orpheus, in which he introduced the term "postmodern." Along with Jean-François Lyotard, Hassan was one of the first scholars to articulate a conception of the postmodern, and he has devoted a large portion of his academic career to this. In his best-known works, he describes formal characteristics of the postmodern, such as discontinuity, indeterminacy, and irony. During this period, he also espoused a concept of the "critic as innovator." His major statements in these regards have been Dismemberment of Orpheus, Paracriticisms, and The Right Promethean Fire.
    Although Hassan has always been engaged in dialogue with the major trends of literary theory, he cannot be easily classified as belonging to any specific school of literary criticism. During the 1980s, beginning with the publication of his autobiography Out of Egypt, Hassan began to move away from articulating the formal characteristics of postmodernism. In particular, his book Selves at Risk examines themes of quest in contemporary literature, and Between the Eagle and the Sun focuses on cultural exchange between Japan and the United States. Hassan continues to provide insightful commentary on the late twentieth century. As of 2007, he lives and works in Milwaukee.

    Biography/Organization History

    Chronology

    1925 Ihab Habib Hassan born in Cairo, Egypt on October 17th.
    1946 Immigrates to the United States to study engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
    1948 Receives M.S. degree from University of Pennsylvania.
    1950 Receives M.A. degree from University of Pennsylvania.
    1952 Holds position as instructor in English at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
    1953 Receives Ph. D. degree in English literature from University of Pennsylvania.
    1954 Begins as an instructor in English at Wesleyan University and becomes professor of English in 1962.
    1956 Becomes a United States citizen.
    1961 Radical Innocence: The Contemporary American Novel (Princeton University Press)
    1963 Aspects du Hero Americain Contemporain (Lettres Modernes)
    1966 Fulbright lecturer in Grenoble, France.
    1968 The Literature of Silence: Henry Miller and Samuel Beckett (Knopf)
    1970 Joins the faculty at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee as the Vilas Research Professor of English and Comparative Literature.
    1971 The Dismemberment of Orpheus: Toward a Postmodern Literature (Oxford University Press)
    1973 Contemporary American Literature, 1945-1972 (Ungar)
    1974 Fulbright lecturer in Nice, France.
    1975 Paracriticisms: Seven Speculations of the Times (Illinois University Press)
    1980 The Right Promethean Fire: Imagination, Science, and Cultural Change (Illinois University Press)
    1986 Out of Egypt: Fragments of an Autobiography (Southern Illinois University Press)
    1987 The Postmodern Turn: Essays in Postmodern Theory and Culture (Ohio State University Press)
    1990 Selves at Risk: Patterns of Quest in Contemporary American Letter (University of Wisconsin Press)
    1995 Rumors of Change: Essays of Five Decades (University of Alabama Press)
    1996 Between the Eagle and the Sun: Traces of Japan (University of Alabama Press)

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    This collection documents the academic work of literary critic, scholar, and theorist Ihab Hassan. The bulk of these materials reflect his work on American fiction of the later twentieth century, in addition to his extensive writings on postmodernism, literary criticism, and cultural studies. The collection primarily contains holograph manuscripts, typescripts, offprints, and reprints of Hassan's published monographs and articles, in addition to professional papers and lecture materials. Some audio and video recordings are included.
    The publication history of Hassan's writings is quite complicated. In numerous cases, he used the exact same or very similar titles for very different works, but he would also rework essentially the same content matter under quite different titles. As far as such distinctions can be made, the material has been grouped together according to the similarity of the content. Very often, a particular work has both published and lecture versions, where the lecture version constitutes either an earlier version of the published essay or a later rewriting of a published work. In either case, all lectures that have strong connections with a published work appear with the published version. A few pieces were published on multiple occasions with a slight change in content. In such cases, the essay has been placed according to the earliest publication date.
    Certain conventions were used in the container list to indicate format and variant titles. Manuscripts not explicitly identified as holographs are typescripts. Numerous essays are represented by draft, lecture, and published versions. Whenever possible, the items were placed in chronological order to reflect the process of composition. When such determinations could not be made, the published version was placed last. In all cases, the published title is used as a heading, and any item with a variant title is listed under that heading.
    A bibliography of Hassan's works compiled by Eddie Yeghiayan is available in Special Collections and Archives.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged in six series.
    • Series 1. Early writings, 1952-1984. 3.6 linear feet
    • Series 2. Later writings, 1985-2000. 4.6 linear feet
    • Series 3. Conference papers and public lectures, 1952-1999. 1.4 linear feet
    • Series 4. Book reviews, 1959-1997. 1.2 linear feet
    • Series 5. Biographical material, 1996-1998. 0.1 linear feet
    • Series 6. Teaching material, 1953-1997. 0.6 linear feet

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Hassan, Ihab Habib, 1925 -- Archives.
    Critical theory -- Archives.
    Criticism -- Archives.
    Literature -- History and criticism -- Archives.
    Literature, Modern -- 20th century -- History and criticism -- Archives.
    Postmodernism (literature) -- Archives.
    American fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism -- Archives.

    Genres and Formats of Materials

    Sound recordings.
    Video recordings.

    Occupations

    Theorists.
    Literary critics.

    Titles

    Critical Theory Archive.