Khotbet El Sheikh by Taha Hussein (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Culture)
CAIRO – 11 September 2017: The Egyptian National Library and Archives recently released the official book “Khotbet El Sheikh” (The Sheikh’s Lecture), reviving works of the late Egyptian literary legend Taha Hussein on Monday.
Previous versions of the book have been published in Bab El Adab and Bab El Egtma’a magazines and Hussein had sent them to an old newspaper called El Sefoor under several headlines amid his journey to Paris at the time, according to a statement released by the Culture Ministry.
The Culture Ministry decided that the novel should be published as a separate book after gathering all the chapters that Hussein published under different headlines in the newspaper. The ministry has gathered all the articles of “Khotbet El Sheikh” into one book to be re-introduced to researchers and readers.
“Khotbet El Sheikh” revolves around an exchange of letters between the main characters which is a literary technique often used in European literature at the time instead of traditional chapters.
The novel also depicts the author’s opinions on the empowerment of women and sheikhs in Al Azhar, among other societal issues.
Taha Hussein with former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser (Photo: Wikimedia)
The decision to gather all historical articles by Taha Hussein, was previously issued in 1998. During the time, an assigned committee supervised by late historian Raouf Abbas released six volumes by the late author.
The released volumes focused on Hussein’s political and historic works. The ministry decided to revive the project in 2017 to also introduce the author’s literary works.
Born in 1889, Hussein has been recognized as an iconic figure for the modernist movement in Egyptian literature. He wrote numerous stories, novels, criticism, and social and political writings. Author of the famous novel “Al-Ayaam” (The Days), Hussein is the first Arab literary author recognized in the west.