The last years of the Saddam regime in Iraq are often described as the disintegration of the very pow- erful state as the result of the cumulative impact of wars and sanctions. Yet in one eld, literature, the Saddam regime maintained a rmer grip during its last years. is article describes the regime’s politics with regard to literature and literary production, concentrating on the novel, in the period between 1995–2003. e article explains why the regime targeted the literary eld before its doom and why it focused on the novel. Examining the Iraqi regime and its “eccentricity” during this period illuminates the control of the totalitarian Ba’ath dictatorship, and sheds a new light on the belated emergence of literary reaction, silently hatching during that period, in the form of a new literary generation that would revolutionize Iraqi cultural life after 2003. is revolution is often called Deba‘athi cation and only its political and bureaucratic aspects are given attention. is article is, thus, about the cultural background of deba‘athi cation.
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