This issue of Alif is devoted to travel and travel-writing in the broadest cross-cultural sense and focuses on what Mahmoud Manzalauoui has termed indigenes, visitants, sojourners, and habitants or metics, particularly in Egypt and the Middle East. It is a tribute to Middle East scholar and acclaimed travel writer John Rodenbeck. Essays in this issue take a variety of approaches, ranging from the historical to the analytical and philosophical. Contributors include Sahar Sobhi Abdel-Hakim, Fadwa Adbel Rahman, Michael Haag, JDF Jones, Ceza Kassem, Nabil Matar, Malise Ruthven, Sarah Searight, and Terry Walz.
Wanderlust: Travel Literature of Egypt and the Middle East
1 September 2006
For sale worldwide
Also available by this author
The Arabian Nights in Comparative ContextFerial J. Ghazoul
The Book of a Thousand and One Nights, better known as The Arabian Nights, is a classic of world literature and the most universally known work of Arabic narrative. Although much has been written about it, Professor Ghazoul’s analysis is the first to apply modern critical methodology to the study of this intricate and much-admired literary masterpiece. The author draws on a wealth of critical tools — medieval Arabic aesthetics and poetics, mythology and folklore, allegory and comedy, postmodern literary criticism, and formal and structural analysis — to explain the specific genius of the The Arabian Nights. The author describes and examines the internal cohesion of the book, establishing its morphology and revealing the dialectics of the frame-story and enframed cycles of narrative. She discusses various forms of narrative — folk epics, animal fables, Sindbad voyages, and demon stories — and analyzes them in relation to narrative works from India, Europe, and the Americas. Covering an impressive range of writings, from ancient Indian classics to the works of Shakespeare and the modern writers Jorge Luis Borges and John Barth, she places The Arabian Nights in the context of an ongoing storytelling tradition and reveals its influence on world literature....read more
1 November 1996
This book is only available for purchase from Egypt
The Literary Life of Cairo
One Hundred Years in the Heart of the City
Edited and with an introduction Samia Mehrez
One Hundred Years in the Heart of the CityEdited and with an introduction Samia Mehrez
Unlike The Literary Atlas of Cairo, which focuses on the literary geopolitics of the cityscape, this companion volume immerses the reader in the complex network of socioeconomic and cultural lives in the city. The seven chapters first introduce the reader to representations of some of Cairo’s prominent profiles, both political and cultural, and their impact on the city’s literary geography, before presenting a spectrum of readings of the city by its multiethnic, multinational, and multilingual writers across class, gender, and generation. Daunting images of colonial school experiences and startling contrasts of postcolonial educational realities are revealed, while Cairo’s moments of political participation and oppression are illustrated, as well as the space accorded to women within the city across history and class. Together, The Literary Atlas of Cairo and The Literary Life of Cairo produce a literary geography of Cairo that goes beyond the representation of space in literature to reconstruct the complex network of human relationships in that space....read more
15 September 2016
The Language of the Self: Autobiographies and Testimonies
Edited by Ferial Ghazoul
The Language of the Self: Autobiographies and TestimoniesEdited by Ferial Ghazoul
Autobiography is a protean genre: it covers so many forms and styles. When narrating one’s life, the narrator has to choose what he or she considers to be relevant and decisive. Beside the differences on what is fundamental in a life, the notion of the Self is culturally defined and thus varies from one place to another. The author of an autobiographical text may express only a fragment of his or her life, follow a thread in the trajectory through reminiscences, memoir, diaries, testimony, interview, letters, poems, etc. The author may declare openly that he or she is identical with the protagonist or may give the principal character a different name or no name. The author may depict private or public events, at times taking imaginative license or even including fantastic motifs. Autobiographical discourse is not only culturally conditioned; it is also symptomatic of the cultural moment. Thus it is important to explore the varieties of self-presentation, and not assume a fixed paradigm.
In this revisionist spirit that looks for different and alternative ways of recording one’s life, Alif presents the autobiographical drive in multiple contexts: ancient and contemporary Egyptian; nineteenth-century and twentieth-century Arab, Moroccan, and Iraqi; South African and West African; Canadian and American; Palestinian and Sudanese; English and Irish; and even that of a hybrid background Chinese American and Algerian French. There has been a tremendous surge in autobiographical writing in recent years, and the field has been redefined by literary and cultural critics.
From James Olney (ed.), Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical (1980) to Dwight Reynolds (ed.), Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition (2001), a range of works have appeared challenging established views and approaches on the subject of autobiography. The epigraphs (whose English translation is drawn from the works mentioned above) attest to the complexity and diversity of motivations in writing about one’s past life....read more
Archaeology of Literature: Tracing the Old in the New
Edited by Ferial Ghazoul
Archaeology of Literature: Tracing the Old in the NewEdited by Ferial Ghazoul
This issue of Alif investigates the different strata constituting texts, and the presence of older material (myths, classics, hymns, rituals, romance, philosophical fragments, etc.) as subtexts in literature. Articles explore the processes and modalities of such inclusions in a given work or the corpus of an author. The issue also includes critical essays on the nature of continuity and correspondence in plots, characters, and styles as well as redeployment of older motifs in modern and postmodern works.
Contributors: English section: Walid Bitar, Leslie Croxford, Ananya Kabir, Rondo Keele, Steven Nimis, John Rodenbeck, Edward Said, Doris Shoukri, Mounira Soliman, Steffen Stelzer. Arabic section: Mohammed ‘Ajina, Mohammed Birairi, Ayman Al-Desouky, Hasab al-Sheikh Ja‘far, Scheherazade Hassan, Sami Mahdi, Samia Mehrez, Mai Muzaffar/Rafa Nasiri, Lamis Al-Nakkash/Doris Shoukri, Nagwa Sha‘ban....read more
1 December 2004
The University and Its Discontents: Egyptian and Global Perspectives
Edited by Robert Switzer
The University and Its Discontents: Egyptian and Global PerspectivesEdited by Robert Switzer
This issue of Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics explores how universities have always borne the task of questioning, and how the role and status of the university itself has been put into question: the very idea of a university has been open to contestation, revision, and crisis. In today’s world, how do universities preserve their capacity for social critique and independent thought when their campuses and research facilities have been both literally and figuratively infiltrated by corporate interests and “support”? How does the tradition of the liberal arts square with today’s technically—and vocationally—minded students? How do the university’s institutions and ideals, born in Medieval cultures inspired by classical learning, fare in a world where everything, education included, is computer mediated, virtualized, globalized? What is the role of literature in this struggle for identity, given that so many writers now make universities their professional home? Original articles addressing a variety of issues from differing disciplinary and theoretical points of view are included in this volume, illuminating higher education concerns in Egypt and the rest of the world. Contributors: Steve Nimis, Sara Nimis, Henry Giroux, Steve Germic, Karyn Ball, Barbara Harlow, John Kress, Peter Cook, Bob Frodeman, Bruce Foltz, Jennifer Rowland, Magda Hasabelnaby, Bayoumi Kandil, Muhsin Mahdi, Doaa Embabi, Madiha Doss, Mohammed Abul Ghar, Ali Mabrouk, Nasr Abu Zayd, Faten Morsy, Mona Tolba, Anwar Moghith, Kamal Mougheeth, Samy Soliman....read more
15 July 2009