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Cairo Modern [Hardcover]

By Naguib Mahfouz (Author)
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Item description for Cairo Modern by Naguib Mahfouz...

The novelist's camera pans from the dome of King Fuad University (now Cairo University) to students streaming out of the campus, focusing on four students in their twenties, each representing a different trend in Egypt in the 1930s. Finally the camera comes to rest on Mahgub Abd al-Da'im. A scamp, he fancies himself a nihilist, a hedonist, an egotist, but his personal vulnerability is soon revealed by a family crisis back home in al-Qanatir, a dusty, provincial town on the Nile that is also a popular destination for Cairene day-trippers. Mahgub, like many characters in works by Naguib Mahfouz, has a hard time finding the correct setting on his ambition gauge. His emotional life also fluctuates between the extremes of a street girl, who makes her living gathering cigarette butts, and his wealthy cousin Tahiya. Since he thinks that virtue is merely a social construct, how far will our would-be nihilist go in trying to fulfill his unbridled ambitions? What if he discovers that high society is more corrupt and cynical than he is? With a wink back at Goethe's Faust and Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews, Mahgub becomes a willing collaborator in his own corruption. Published in Arabic in the 1940s, this cautionary morality tale about self-defeating egoism and ill-digested foreign philosophies comes from the same period as one of the writer's best-known works, Midaq Alley. Both novels are comic and heart-felt indictments not so much of Egyptian society between the world wars as of human nature and our paltry attempts to establish just societies.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: American University in Cairo Press
Pages   242
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   1.3 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 15, 2008
Publisher   American University in Cairo Press
ISBN  9774161564  
ISBN13  9789774161568  

Availability  0 units.

More About Naguib Mahfouz

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Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. A student of philosophy and an avid reader, his works range from reimaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Over a career that lasted more than five decades, he wrote 33 novels, 13 short story anthologies, numerous plays, and 30 screenplays. Of his many works, most famous is The Cairo Trilogy, consisting of Palace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957), which focuses on a Cairo family through three generations, from 1917 until 1952. In 1988, he became the first writer in Arabic to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in August 2006.

Naguib Mahfouz currently resides in Agouza Cairo. Naguib Mahfouz was born in 1911.

Naguib Mahfouz has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cairo Trilogy

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Cairo Modern?

1940's and still so fresh  Jun 2, 2008
This is a well translated classic and an enthralling read. The book itself is beautifully printed on excellent paper and a joy to handle.
The story is worthy of a Hitchcock film and has the reader reaching for more.

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