The Cairo of Naguib Mahfouz

Photographs by Britta Le Va
Text by Gamal al-Ghitani
Foreword by Naguib Mahfouz

For Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, Cairo has always been a place of special resonance. As the place in which he was born and has lived his whole life,

English edition
15 September 2012
112 pp.
80 color photographs
21X21cm
ISBN 9789774165528
For sale worldwide

$29.95

For Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, Cairo has always been a place of special resonance. As the place in which he was born and has lived his whole life, it is a city he loves passionately and has visited and revisited in his writing. It is the setting for nearly all his novels and short stories, not merely as a backdrop but as an integral part of his fiction, playing its own role in the dramas. The old streets of the Cairo Trilogy and the microcosmic cul-de-sac of Midaq Alley become fictional characters as fascinating as the human ones for Naguib Mahfouz. A longtime admirer of the novels of Naguib Mahfouz, photographer Britta Le Va discovered old Cairo through his works. Here, she guides us through his pages, and treads his streets and alleys, to produce a collection of outstanding visual images of the historic city. Each complements a verbal image selected from Mahfouz’s writings. In his introduction, novelist Gamal al-Ghitani describes a walking tour with the great man around the streets of Gamaliya, that historic heart of the old city where both of them—more than thirty years apart—were born and grew up. Along the way, Mahfouz reminisces and remarks on what had changed and what had not in eight decades.

Britta Le Va

Britta Le Va is a photographer based in New York.

To read an interview with German-born photographer about her book, The Cairo of Naguib Mahfouz (AUC Press, 2012), click here.

Gamal al-Ghitani

Gamal al-Ghitani, born in 1945, is the author of Zayni Barakat (AUC Press, 2004), The Mahfouz Dialogs (AUC Press, 2007), Pyramid Texts (AUC Press, 2007), The Zafarani Files (AUC Press, 2009), The Cairo of Naguib Mahfouz (AUC Press 2012), and The Book of Epiphanies (AUC Press, forthcoming). He is editor-in-chief of the literary review Akhbar al-adab.

Naguib Mahfouz

Naguib Mahfouz (1911–2006) was born in the crowded Cairo district of Gamaliya. He wrote nearly 40 novel-length works, plus hundreds of short stories and numerous screenplays. He was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1988. Kay Heikkinen holds a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, where she first became interested in Arabic history, language, and literature. She has taught medieval history and literature as well as Islamic civilization, and currently teaches Arabic at the University of Chicago.  
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