Naguib Mahfouz - File photo
CAIRO – 31 August 2017: The 11th Anniversary of the death legendary Arabic author Naguib Mahfoz fell on August 30.
Mahfouz was the first Arabic author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. He was born in the Gamaliya quarter of Cairo in 1911.
He had a bachelor’s in Philosophy and a master’s in Islamic Philosophy, before shifting his career to literature.
He started his literary career by publishing a number of historical novels as “Kefaah Tebah” in 1939, and then he shifted to the realistic category by publishing “El Qahera El Gadeda” and “Khan El Khalili”.
He wrote in a psychological realism style in social novels. He also wrote in the magical realism, such as the novel “El Harafeesh”, and in 1952 he published his most famous and critical work, “Awlaad Haretna”.
His last work was a short story collection entitled “Ahlam Fatret El Nakaha” in 2004.
Mahfouz inspired a number of Arab and international writers.
The following are the opinions of a number of authors on Mahfouz’s works:
Nadin Gordimer (Photo courtesy Wikimedia)
“One of the greatest creative talents in the realm of the novel in the world.”—Nadine Gordimer
Edward Said (Photo Courtesy Wikimedia)
“As a citizen, Naguib Mahfouz sees civility and the continuity of a transnational, abiding, Egyptian personality in his work as perhaps surviving the debilitating processes of conflict and historical degeneration, which he, more than anyone else I have read, has so powerfully depicted.”—Edward Said
Ahdaf Souief (Photo Courtesy Wikimedia)
“Mahfouz was of massively important influence on Arabic literature; he was our greatest living novelist for a very long time. Mahfouz was an innovator in the use of the Arabic language; he also embodied the whole development of the Arabic novel, starting with historical novels in the late 1940s, through realism, through experimentalism and so on.”—Ahdaf Souief
Alaa Al Aswany (Photo Courtesy Wikimedia)
“He is the founder of the new Arab novel, and he opened doors for five generations of Arab novelists. He is our father.”—Alaa Al Aswany
Caption: The Washington Post (Photo Courtesy Wikimedia)
“Throughout Naguib Mahfouz’s fiction, there is a pervasive sense of metaphor, of a literary artist who is using his fiction to speak directly and unequivocally to the condition of his country. His work is imbued with love for Egypt and its people, but it is also utterly honest and unsentimental.”—The Washington Post
“Mahfouz’s work is freshly nuanced and hauntingly lyrical. The Nobel Prize acknowledges the universal significance of [his] fiction.”—Los Angeles Times
“Mr. Mahfouz embodied the essence of what makes the bruising, raucous, chaotic human anthill of Cairo possible.”—The Economist