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The Essential Naguib Mahfouz

The Essential Naguib Mahfouz: Novels, Short Stories, Autobiography

Edited by Denys Johnson-Davies
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    The Essential Naguib Mahfouz
    Book Description:

    Naguib Mahfouz, the first and only writer of Arabic to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature, wrote prolifically from the 1930s until shortly before his death in 2006, in a variety of genres: novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, a regular weekly newspaper column, and in later life his intensely brief and evocative Dreams. His Cairo Trilogy achieved the status of a world classic, and the Swedish Academy of Letters in awarding him the 1988 Nobel prize for literature noted that Mahfouz “through works rich in nuance—now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous—has formed an Arabic narrative art that applies to all mankind." Here Denys Johnson-Davies, described by Edward Said as “the leading Arabic–English translator of our time," makes an essential selection of short stories and extracts from novels and other writings, to present a cross-section through time of the very best of the work of Egypt’s Nobel literature laureate.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-207-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xiv)

    Some time in the 1980s, I remember receiving a telephone call with the news that a woman from Sweden was in Cairo and that she wanted to see me. We met up for coffee in a hotel and she told me that she had come from Tunis, where—if my memory serves me right—she was the wife of an ambassador. She told me that the purpose of her visit was to discuss with me and others the possibility of an Arab writer being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

    “We feel it is high time an Arab writer was...

  5. Chapter 1 Novels
    (pp. 1-212)

    More hours passed and the sun started to incline toward the west. I Commanders Mheb and Deeb approached the king, Ahmose Ebana following in their footsteps. They bowed to Ahmose respectfully and congratulated him on the victory. Ahmose said, “Before we congratulate one another, we must perform our duty toward the bodies of the heroes and soldiers, and the women and children, who were martyred for the sake of Thebes. Bring them all to me!”

    The bodies, begrimed with dust and stained with blood, were strewn at the sides of the field, on top of the wall, and behind the...

  6. Chapter 2 Short Stories
    (pp. 213-256)

    The incredible news spread through every part of Pharaoh’s palace. Every tongue told it, all ears listened eagerly to it, and the stunned gossips repeated it—that a messenger from the land of the Amorites had descended upon Egypt. He bore a letter to Pharaoh from Prince Sinuhe, who had vanished without warning all of forty years before—and whose disappearance itself had wreaked havoc in people’s minds. It was said that the prince had pleaded with the king to forgive what had passed, and to permit him to return to his native land. There he would retire in quiet...

  7. Chapter 3 Autobiographical Works
    (pp. 257-270)

    “I have come to you because you are my first and last refuge,” he said urgently.

    “This means that you come with a new request,” said the old man, smiling.

    “My transfer from the governorate has been decided upon as the next posting.”

    “Haven’t you spent there the period as laid down by law? These are the conventions followed in your position.”

    “Being transferred would be harmful to me and my family,” he entreated.

    “I informed you of the nature of your work from the very first day.”

    “The fact is that the governorate has become like home to us,...

  8. Sources
    (pp. 271-278)