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).

Bibliography

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 ?
In 1994, a brainwashed Islamist radical attempted to kill Egypt 's Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz, on the basis of a similar fatwa.
Allen, a former professor of Arabic and comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania, has previously translated such luminaries as Naguib Mahfouz, Abdel-Rahman Munif, Youssef Idris and Hanan al-Sheikh.
The works of AverroE1/2s, Ibn Khaldun and Naguib Mahfouz are among the most profound of the human spirit and it is in Arabic that they deliver their full power.
As one disenfranchised youth returning from Tahrir Square puts it, perhaps exaggeratingly, "If darkness reigns, Egypt will not be able to beget another Taha Hussein or 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.
Memories of Naguib Mahfouz and the Movies "Playwright, journalist, novelist, and head of the Egyptian Writers Union Mohamed Salmawy flew to the Emirates last night to give a talk at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair about the new book Naguib Mahfouz: Man of Cinema.
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.
Egypt's Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz noted realistically that: "In Egypt today most people are concerned with getting bread to eat.
The ancient Persian tales of 1,001 nights have been told and retold by writers from Sir Richard Burton to Naguib Mahfouz, Goethe and Salman Rushdie, among others.
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.
According to locals, Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt's Nobel- winning author, frequents the El- Fishawy Cafe, or Cafe of Mirrors, here.