Urban Space In Contemporary Egyptian Literature: Portraits of Cairo

Hardcover | June 15, 2011

byMara Naaman

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Part ode, part academic treatise, this book traces the transformation of Cairo’s historic downtown from its spectacular beginning as a French inspired Belle Époque marvel to a site of contest and, more recently, to its role as a neo-bohemian public sphere. Using the work of several Egyptian novelists, this study explores the significance of this space to ideas of modernity, class consciousness, and the anti-colonial struggle. Drawing on urban studies scholarship, Arabic literary criticism, and cultural theory, this wide-ranging work argues that a re-examination of the historic city center in the face of globalization and the ongoing fragmentation of urban space is essential to understanding what it means to be Egyptian today.

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Part ode, part academic treatise, this book traces the transformation of Cairo’s historic downtown from its spectacular beginning as a French inspired Belle Époque marvel to a site of contest and, more recently, to its role as a neo-bohemian public sphere. Using the work of several Egyptian novelists, this study explores the significan...

Mara Naaman is an Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at Williams College. Her work has appeared in the Comparative Literature Studies Journal, Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, Arab Studies Journal, MELUS, and various anthologies.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:254 pages, 8.58 × 5.75 × 0.82 inPublished:June 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230108652

ISBN - 13:9780230108653

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“In this fascinating and well researched study, Naaman brings a host of works on heritage, nostalgia, modernity and modernization, colonialism and post-colonialism, and, of course, architecture, to bear on her analyses of portraits of downtown Cairo that emerge from four Egyptian novels. The events of February 2011 have brought this very space to the attention of a world-wide public, one that will surely gain from a reading of Naaman’s excellent study.”--Roger Allen, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania“An original, intelligent, and imaginative contribution. Naaman successfully draws the reading of contemporary Arabic literature into a broader set of concerns about modernity, national identity, class, ethnic conflict, and the experience of urban life.”--Timothy Mitchell, Professor of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University“This study adds several dimensions to our understanding of the Egyptian novel: narration of space in the novel, the representation of urban space, and the emergence of a decidedly post-nationalist form of writing. What emerges from Naaman’s discussion is that these novels are part of a definable new literary school whose sites, themes, and styles mark a radical departure from earlier ones.” --Elliott Colla, Chair, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University