[Translated from the French by E. Haddad]

Beirut is also an immense scene of insouciance. Nobody wants to see the other side of the décor, the deep country, the masses of frustrated, the thousands of poor from the South, or the Hermel region. Years later, escaping their daily distress, the operations of the Fedayin going through their villages to infiltrate Israel, the retaliation raids of the latter, and the confessional massacres of the civil war, they will invest the capital and will . In the meantime, it is a party and we are in Switzerland.

From Elias Sanbar. Le Bien des Absents. Actes Sud, 2001

May be it is such that, through all those who came from the Arab world in search of what lacked in their own country, that the meeting of opposites was given such an ambiguous name, turned itself into a lung that allows a few individuals, the assassin as well as his victim, to breathe, and that Beirut became the song of differences and divergences, without necessarily leading this party of lovers to ask themselves whether they were in Beirut or in their dreams. Because Beirut, no one knows her, no one looks for her and perhaps; perhaps, she is not even there.

From Mahmoud Darwich. Une Memoire pour l'oubli. Actes Sud, 1994

To stroll cum dignitate, the Romans used to say. It is all an art that one must learn again here. As much as it is a pleasure to drive throughout Lebanon, as much we feel sequestered, imprisoned in this metal shell in Beirut, constantly paralyzed by the intensity and the muddle of circulation. In the countries of the South, everything is in the street. Life is offered, given, projected, is caught in a smile, guessed through words, discovered through the excess of gestures.

From Andree Chedid . Le Liban. Editions du Seuil, 1969

Selected Bibliography

This list is a selection of works on Beirut which can be grouped under the following categories. This is not an extensive bibliography, but an introduction to the aesthetic, urban, literary and political representations of the city.

Architecture, Urbanism, Urban History

David, Catherine,ed. Tamáss 1: Contemporary Arab Representations- Beirut/Lebanon. Witte de Wit Center for Contemporary Art, 2003

Davie, May. Beyrouth 1825-1975. Beirut: Ordre des Ingenieurs et Architectes, 2001

Debbas, Fuad. Beirut : Our Memory. Consortium Books, 1997

Gavin, Angus & Maluf, Ramez. Beirut Reborn : The Restoration and Development of the Central District. London: Academy, 1996

Jidejian, Nina. Beirut through the Ages . Beirut: Dar el-Mashreq, 1973

Kassir, Samir. Histoire de Beyrouth. Paris: Fayard, 2003

Rowe, Peter & Sarkis, Hashim eds. Projecting Beirut: Episodes in the Construction and Reconstruction of a Modern City. Prestel, 1998

Saliba, Robert. Beirut City Center Recovery . Steidl, 2003


Al-Shaykh, Hanan. The Story of Zahra. New York: Anchor Books, 1994

Awwad, Tawfik Yusuf. Death in Beirut. Three Continents Press, 1984

Chedid, Andree. The Return to Beirut. Serpent's Tail, 1990

Darwish, Mahmud. Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982. Univ. of California Press, 1995

Khouri, Elias. Little Mountain . Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1989

Makdisi, Jean. Beirut Fragments: A War Memoir. Norton, 1991

Politics, Political History, Sociology

Corm, Georges. Liban: les guerres de l'Europe et de l'Orient, 1840-1992. Paris: Decouverte, 1986

Fisk, Robert. Pity The Nation: Lebanon at War. Oxford Univ. Press, 2001

Khalaf, Samir. Lebanon's Predicament. Columbia University Press, 1987

El-Khazen, Farid. The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon 1967-1976. Harvard, 2000

Salibi, Kamal . The Modern History of Lebanon. New York: Caravan Books, 1977

Salibi, Kamal. A House of Many Mansions. Univ. of California Press, 1991

Websites of Interest




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