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The Meaning of Civilisation

The Meaning of Civilisation

Naguib Mahfouz

Category

History, Non-fiction

Format

Hardback with jacket

Price

$599.00 $540.00

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Excerpt

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$599.00 $540.00

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(Hardback with jacket | ISBN 9789386702234 | 216 pp | September 2017)

Summary

When Naguib Mahfouz left his job as a civil servant in 1971, a Nobel Prize in literature was nowhere on the horizon, nor was his global recognition as the central figure of Arab literature. He was just beginning a new job on the editorial staff of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, and elsewhere in Cairo, Anwar Sadat was just beginning his hugely transformative Egyptian presidency, which would span eleven years.

The Meaning of Civilisation is a collection of essays that captures one of Egypt’s most important decades in the prose of one of the Middle East’s most important writers. It stitches together a fascinating and vivid account of the dramatic events of the time, from Egypt’s break with the Soviet Union to the Yom Kippur War with Israel and eventual peace accord and up to Sadat’s assassination by Islamic extremists in 1981.

Through this tumultuous history, Mahfouz takes on a diverse array of political topics—including socioeconomic stratification, democracy and dictatorship, and Islam and extremism—which are still of crucial relevance to Egypt—and the world—today. Clear-eyed and direct, the pieces illuminate Mahfouz’s personal and political convictions, which were more often hidden in his novels, enriching his better-known corpus with social, political, and ideological context.

This collection is a rare treasure, a story of a time of tremendous social and political change in the Middle East, told by one of its most iconic authors.

Excerpt

Click here to read an excerpt from the book.


Reviews

‘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


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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.

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