Naguib Mahfouz

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Mahfouz, Naguib

(nəgēb` mäkhfo͞os`), 1911–2006, Egyptian novelist and short-story writer, b. Cairo. After his graduation (1934) from Cairo Univ., he worked in various government ministries until his retirement in 1971. Mahfouz was the best-known and most widely respected 20th-century writer in Egypt and probably in the whole Arab world, where many of his works were adapted for film and television. His novels are characterized by realistic depictions of Egyptian social, political, and religious life in the troubled 20th cent. His fiction features a wide variety of ordinary citizens, usually inhabitants of Cairo, and includes explorations of such issues as the position of women and the treatment of political prisoners. Stylistically, his works rejuvenated literary Arabic, and in 1988 he became the first Arabic writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

In all, Mahfouz wrote 33 novels, 16 short story collections, several plays, 30 screenplays, and a variety of other works. However, much of his reputation is based on his 1956–57 "Cairo Trilogy"—Bayn al-Qasrayn, Qasr ash-Shawq, and As-Sukkariyya (tr. as Palace Walk, 1989, Palace of Desire, 1991, and Sugar Street, 1992)—a sweeping series of novels that traces the history of a middle-class Cairo Muslim family through three generations, from 1917 to 1952. Another well-known novel, Awlad Haratina (1959; tr. Children of Gebelawi, 1981, Children of the Alley, 1995), a semibiblical allegory, includes characters identified with Muhammad, Jesus, Adam and Eve, and Moses. Considered blasphemous by some, it remains controversial in the Arabic-speaking world and was banned in Egypt.

In the 1960s Mahfouz abandoned some of his realistic techniques and began to write shorter, faster-paced novels with stream of consciousness narratives and scriptlike dialogue, e.g., The Search (1964, tr. 1991). His other novels include Midaq Alley (1947, tr. 1975) and Miramar (1967, tr. 1978). Among his short stories are those in God's World (tr. 1973).

Mahfouz was an outspoken advocate of peace between Egypt and Israel, a position that made him a controversial figure in his homeland. In 1994 he was stabbed in an assassination attempt, apparently by an Islamic fundamentalist. Weakened by age, further debilitated by the attack, and unable to write longer pieces, during his late 80s he began to compose extremely brief dream-based vignettes; a number of them were serialized in Egypt and later collected in The Dreams (2005).


See his Echoes of an Autobiography (1997) and Naguib Mahfouz at Sidi Gaber: Reflections of a Nobel Laureate 1994–2001 (2001); studies by S. Somekh (1973), M. Peled (1983), H. Gordon (1990), T. Le Gassick, ed. (1991), M. Beard and A. Haydar, ed. (1993), R. El-Enany (1993), M. Moosa (1994), and M. Milson (1998), R. A. M. Mneimneh, ed. (2004); bibliography by the Bibliographic and Computer Center, Cairo (2003).

References in periodicals archive ?
The annual Naguib Mahfouz literary prize was awarded this year to the Palestinian novelist Huzama Habayeb, for Velvet ( Mukhmal ) .
The AUC Press, which established the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 1996, has been the primary publisher of Naguib Mahfouz's English-language editions for more than thirty years, and has also been responsible for the publication of some 600 foreign-language editions of the Nobel laureate's works in more than 40 languages around the world since the author won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988.
The Portrayal of Egyptian Women in Selected Novels of Naguib Mahfouz.
This collection of photographs of the Cairo so well-loved by Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz by New York photographer Le Va and text by al-Ghitani, revisit the city that figured so prominently in the novels and short stories Mahfouz has written over the years.
His filmography includes "Days and Nights", "The Unused Pillow", "Zizi's Family", "Struggle at Harbour", "The Elder Brother" and "Small talk on the Nile"--the latter is based on the novel by Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz.
In the past, it was frequented by late legendary Egyptian authors and singers like the young Naguib Mahfouz, Om Kalthoum and Taha Hussein, as well as Ahmed Fouad Negm [the famous poet who is still alive], many of whose portraits adorn the restaurant walls.
The Wisdom of Naguib Mahfouz: From the Works of the Nobel Laureate" is a compilation of the writings from the international renown Egyptian thinker and philosopher Naguib Mahfouz, a man with dozens of novels and other works, attaining the Nobel Prize for literature in 1988.
A seminar on Naguib Mahfouz, whose novels served as an inspiration to Egyptian films, will also be held.
Amongst those who do read, Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz emerged as the most popular writer in the Arab world.
The Defector" (August/September) incorrectly claimed that the Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz had called Salman Rushdie "a terrorist.
Cairo, (SANA)- Syrian novelist Khalil Sualeh won Naguib Mahfouz Prize for Literature awarded by the American University in Cairo for his novel /Warraq al-Hub/.
Summary: Cairo - The Union of Egyptian Writers awarded Tuesday evening the 2009 Naguib Mahfouz Award for Literature to Moroccan writer Bensalem Himmich for the whole of his work.