14 - 20 October 1999
Issue No. 451
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
The long journey
A Border Passage: From Cairo to America -- A Woman's Journey, Leila Ahmed, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999. pp307
Tales of the desert fox
The Armies of Rommel, George Forty, London: Arms and Armour, 1999. pp254
A peace with no winners
Ya Salam (Peace!), Nagwa Barakat, Beirut: Dar Al-Adab, 1999. pp190
Rural migrant workers in Egypt
Rural Labor Movements in Egypt, 1961-1992, James Toth, Cairo: AUC Press, 1999. pp246
Secret and moral histories
Al-Qame' fil-Khitab Al-Rowa'i Al-Arabi (Repression in the Discourse of the Arabic Novel), Abdel-Rahman Abu Ouf. Cairo: Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, 1999. pp263
New guide for the virtual traveller
The Splendours of Archaeology, ed. Fabio Bourbon, Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1999. pp352
When the sea changed its colour
Youghiyar Alouanah Al-Bahr ( The sea changes its colours), Nazik Al-Malaika, Cairo: Afaq Al-Kitaba (Writing Horizons) series of the Cultural Palaces Organisation, 1999. pp211
Next week, the Supreme Council for Culture will hold an international symposium to mark the passing of a century since the publication of Qasim Amin's The Liberation of Women. Here, Al-Ahram Weekly remembers Mai Ziyada, one of the most remarkable advocates of women's liberation in the Arab world
The mirror of Mai
Bahithat Al-Badia and Aisha Al-Taymouriya, Al-Anissa Mai (Mai Ziyada), edited and introduced by Safynaz Kazem, Cairo: Al-Hilal, 1999. pp372
Introducing Miss Mai
By Safynaz Kazem
At a glance
By Mahmoud El-Wardani
Magazines and Periodicals:
* Alif : Journal of Comparative Poetics, No. 19, Cairo: The American University in Cairo, 1999
* Dafatir Thaqafiya (Cultural Notebooks), No. 22, Ramallah: The Palestinian Ministry of Culture, August 1999
* Nizwa , No. 19, Oman: Oman Institution for Journalism, News, Publication and Advertising, Summer 1999
* Fusul (Seasons), quarterly issued by the General Egyptian Book Organisation
* Al-Romouz Al-Tashkiliya fil Sehr Al-Sha'bi (Plastic Symbols in Popular Magic), Soliman Mahmoud Hassan, Cairo: General Organisation for Cultural Palaces, 1999. pp.231
* Islam in the Balkans , H. T. Norris, trans. Abdel-Wahab Aloub, ed. Mohamed Khalifa Hassan, Cairo: Supreme Council for Culture, 1999. pp299
* Leonardo, Edmundo Solmi, trans. Taha Fawzi, Cairo: General Egyptian Book Organisation, 1999. pp223
* St Mark and the Foundation of the Alexandrian Church, Samir Fawzi Girgis, trans. Nassim Megali, Cairo: General Egyptian Book Organisation, 1999. pp159.
To see other book supplements go to the ARCHIVES index.
Illustrations courtesy of International Commitee of the Red Cross
"Folk drawings and tales", Cairo, 1996
At a glanceReviewed by Mahmoud El-Wardani
* Alif, Journal of Comparative Poetics, No. 19, Cairo: The American University in Cairo, 1999
How does gender contribute to the formation of social and psychological conceptions of the self? How does it affect knowledge of society and culture? In what ways can its effects be traced in history, politics, literature? These are some of the questions raised, in both Arabic and English, in the latest edition of the American University's prestigious academic journal. The contributors are not only highly qualified in their respective fields, but are also in many cases passionately involved in the topics they discuss. The journal's English section includes contributions by the celebrated Egyptian writer Aisha Abdel-Rahman (who is perhaps better known by her pen name 'Bint Al-Shati'), who discusses the place of the Muslim woman in contemporary society, as well as by Professor Nasr Hamid Abu Zeid, whose critique of contemporary religious discourse resulted in a famous recent Cairo court case in which his marriage was nullified. Abu Zeid also contributes to the Arabic section of the journal and, besides his article, this includes a critique of masculinity by Sherif Hetata, a piece by Julia Kristeva and a translation of Virginia Woolf's essay Women and Fiction.
* Dafatir Thaqafiya (Cultural Notebooks) , No. 22, Ramallah: The Palestinian Ministry of Culture, August 1999
A monthly, tabloid-style magazine published by the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, Dafatir Thaqafiya attempts to combine cultural journalism with literary articles (criticism and texts), as well as interviews with Palestinian writers. The reader is introduced to news and activities concerning Palestinian culture under self-government, and this is followed by discussions of the work of Syrian dramatist Saadallah Wannous, reviews of Anton Shammasi's latest novel and of Emad Al-Sabbaghi's recent book, Monotheistic Thought in the Arab World before Islam. The issue also includes poems and short stories by writers from Palestine, Jordan, Iraq and Syria, together with translations of Borges, and of German folk tales.
* Nizwa , No. 19, Oman: Oman Institution for Journalism, News, Publication and Advertising, Summer 1999
In the latest issue of this important cultural periodical, which is headed by the Omani poet Seif Al-Rahbi, Haitham Al-Janabi explores the mysteries of Sufi poetry, Hashim Saleh discusses the link between genius and madness, Mohsen Al-Mousawi evokes the magical world of The Thousand and One Nights through a discussion of the society that produced this best-known of all works in Arabic and Samir Al-Youssef discusses the fall of Marxism conceived of as an 'absolute' doctrine. Abdel-Razzaq Eid writes about the work of dramatist Abdallah Wannous, while Ashraf Abu Zeid translates an article about the cinema of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. The issue also has its share of poems and stories, the highlights being translations of Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz and Vladimir Nabokov, as well as a text by Abdel-Rahman Mounif. The visual arts section includes a discussion of the work of Egyptian graphic artist Mohieddin El-Labbad. As always, book reviews abound, and in this issue recent publications by Edwar El-Kharrat and Said El-Kafrawi are covered. There is also an excellent translation of an article by Milan Kundera on Kafka.
* Fusul(Seasons)quarterly issued by the General Egyptian Book Organisation
Readers of the latest issue of this prestigious literary periodical will be surprised to find that it bears the date of Spring 1998, and a news-stand tour reveals that all available issues bear this same date. Is this an old issue that was supposed to be published more than a year ago, one wonders, or has there been some mistake? In any case, whatever its correct date the issue concentrates on the specificity of the Arabic novel, and it includes two main sections. The first is given over to studies and reviews: Gaber Asfour writes on the dawn of the Arabic novel; Abdallah Al-Ghozami asks if 'the novel is a white man'; Mohamed El-Bahari discusses autobiography by women; Ahmed Darwish writes on inter-textual cross-reference and novelistic flow; Mohamed El-Qadi writes on the novel and history; Raga'i Eid writes on the encounter of civilizations in the Arabic novel; Moigab El-Zahrani discusses manifestations of the body in different Arabic novels; Ali Abbas Elwan tackles tragic vision in contemporary Iraqi novels, with Abdellah Ahmed discussing artistic consciousness in the same field; Abdel-Hamid Aqqar takes stock of developments in the Maghrebin novel, with Ben-Salem Himiesh examining dual identity in Maghreb literature written in French; Radwa Ashour remembers Palestine in 1948 in an article entitled 'Memory Hunters'; Samir Qattami writes on the 1967 defeat and its impact on the Jordanian novel; Rashid Al-Daif writes on currents in the Lebanese novel. In the journal's second section, which is devoted to 'Critical Horizons', Mohamed Shawqi El-Zein presents his translation of a piece on interpretation, language and the humanities by the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, while Ali Afifi translates a piece by Wolfgang Iser on reader-response theory.
The author of this innovative book traces the origins of the drawings, recurrent forms and symbols of popular magic and points out that this heritage has had a tremendous capacity for persistence and adaptation, answering to the changing requirements of popular communities. The book is divided into four main parts, with sections devoted to 'animal forms', 'human forms', 'rings and stellar forms' and 'magic squares', and it amply demonstrates how such forms operate in popular belief systems, where it is believed that the power of specific forms can be used to meet specific needs on condition that certain magic words or spells be said or written. In his 'Introduction', the author writes that he hopes to present an 'open reading' of these elements of popular magic. This is all the more important, he says, as this magical aspect of popular heritage occupies an important position in popular culture as a whole.
Books in Arabic language dealing with the Muslim communities of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Albania and Bulgaria are rare, despite the obvious political importance of the subject. This book is therefore all the more welcome, and in it H T Norris offers a well-researched study of the four years of war between the Muslims of Bosnia, the Serbs and the Croats, as well as the political and religious conflict in Albania and Bulgaria. In his opening section, the author goes back to the roots of the conflict, presenting a panoramic view of the Arab conquest of the Balkans, while in the next four sections he considers the influence of Arab civilization on life and literature in Bosnia, Macedonia and Albania, Sufism in the Balkans, Muslim military figures of Balkan origin and Albanian Sufi poets, respectively. In a final section he discusses the influence of Balkan Muslims on the history of Egypt, Syria and Morocco, before ending the book with a discussion of the interaction between Muslim and non-Muslim cultures in Balkan societies.
First published in Italian in 1900, this book addresses the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci, the clearest instance of the 'Renaissance man' in his ideal form as a man whose impassioned interest in science was coupled by an artistic vocation and a hunger for knowledge in all its forms. As the book shows, Leonardo was not only the painter of the celebrated 'Mona Lisa', but also an inventor whose scientific designs -- the hot-air balloon, the military tank, the helicopter, a device making it possible to walk on water -- were far ahead of his age. Depending on first-hand sources and a wide range of references, the author of this delightful classic, now at last available in Arabic, paints an unforgettable picture of one of the very few men to whom the label of genius might justly be applied.
* St Mark and the Foundation of the Alexandrian Church , Samir Fawzi Girgis, trans. Nassim Megali, Cairo: General Egyptian Book Organisation, 1999. pp159.
This study aims to provide a definitive biography of St Mark and a thorough revision of the events of his life based on the oldest available sources. The author thus rectifies some popular misconceptions that have sometimes served to play down St. Mark's role during the first few decades of Christianity. Besides examining the word Copt, the Coptic language and the presence of the Holy Family in Egypt, in the first chapter the author deals with the emergence of Christianity in Egypt in the context of a discussion of the life of St. Paul, and of the missionary work of St. Mark and the church of St. Mark in Alexandria. The second chapter goes on to discuss Egypt under Roman rule, the Alexandrian theological movement, the emergence and development of the monastic movement, the missionary activities of the Copts, the establishment of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and the Coptic creed. The author earned his Ph.D from Zurich University in 1966 and has been teaching there and writing on Islamic and Coptic history ever since.