On Art, Literature and History

On Art, Literature and History

Naguib Mahfouz

Translated By

Aran Byrne


History, Non-fiction




$7.88 $7.09

In Stock


Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

$7.88 $7.09

Share On

(Hardback | ISBN 9789386050007 | 172 pages | June 2016)


The Non-fiction Writing of Naguib Mahfouz: Volume I

Naguib Mahfouz is one of the most important writers in contemporary Arabic literature. Winner of the Nobel Prize in 1988 (the only Arab writer to win the prize thus far), his novels helped bring Arabic literature onto the international stage. Far fewer people know his non-fiction works, however—a gap that this book fills. Bringing together Mahfouz’s early non-fiction writings (most penned during the 1930s) which have not previously been available in English, this volume offers a rare glimpse into the early development of the renowned author.
As these pieces show, Mahfouz was deeply interested in art and history, as well as literature and philosophy, and his early writings engage with the origins of philosophy, its development and place in the history of thought, as well its meaning writ large. In his literary essays, he discusses a wide range of authors, from Anton Chekov to his own Arab contemporaries like Taha Hussein. He also ventures into a host of important contemporary issues, including science and modernity, the growing movement for women’s rights in the Arab world, and emerging ideologies like socialism—all of which outline the growing challenges to traditional modes of living that he saw all around him.
Together, these essays offer a fascinating window not just into the mind of Mahfouz himself but the changing landscape of Egypt during that time, from the development of Islam to the struggles between tradition, modernity, and the influences of the West.


Click here to read an excerpt from the book.


‘As a citizen Naguib Mahfouz sees civility and the continuity of a transnational, abiding, Egyptian personality in his work as perhaps surviving the debilitating processes of conflict and historical degeneration which he, more than anyone else I have read, has so powerfully depicted.’
—Edward Said

‘One of the greatest creative talents in the realm of the novel in the world.’
—Nadine Gordimer

‘He is not only a Hugo and a Dickens, but also a Galsworthy, a Mann, a Zola, and a Jules Romain.’
London Review of Books

‘Mahfouz embodied the essence of what makes the bruising, raucous, chaotic human anthill of Cairo possible.’
The Economist

You may also like

About the author

Naguib Mahfouz

Naguib Mahfouz (1911–2006) was the most important Arabic writer of his generation. He is the author of over thirty novels, including The Cairo Trilogy, Thief and the Dog, Miramar and Children of the Alley. He is the winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature.

View profile