Mahmud Taymur

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Taymur, Mahmud


Born June 16, 1894, in Cairo; died Aug. 25, 1973, in Switzerland. Arab (Egyptian) writer. Member of the Academy for the Arabic Language in Cairo.

Taymur was one of the founders of the Egyptian realistic short story. He studied at the Higher Agricultural School, and began publishing in 1920. Taymur’s early works were influenced by Chekhov and Maupassant. His short stories of the 1920’s and 1930’s portrayed various social strata in Egypt. Taymur’s prose is marked by humanism and psychological subtlety. In the late 1930’s and in the 1940’s his prose was influenced by symbolism, as seen in the collection of short stories Call of the Unknown (1939). After the revolutionary coup of 1952, Taymur’s works were predominantly realistic. He wrote the socially oriented novels Shumrukh (1958) and Blue Lanterns (1960; Russian translation, 1970), collections of short stories and plays, and works on the history and theory of literature.


Ma’bud min tin. Cairo, 1972.
In Russian translation:
Sheikh Dzhuma. Moscow, 1957.


Krachkovskii, I. Iu. Izbr. soch., vols. 1,3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Borisov, V. M. Sovremennaia egipetskaia proza. Moscow, 1961.
Sovremennaia arabskaia literatura. Moscow, 1960.
as-Sakafa. Cairo, 1973, no. 1. Pages 45–70.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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But other than this successful innovation, Idilbi is very much in the straightforward realistic narrative mode of Mahmud Taymur, the early Naguib Mahfouz, and others.
We then move to discussions of three genres: the short story, with examples from Yusuf Idris to illustrate the creative interplay of different levels of language; the drama, through a discussion of the two separate versions of the play, Kidhb fi Kidhb, by Mahmud Taymur; and poetry, via an analysis of the translations of Shelley's poetry.