Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
9 - 15 December 1999
Issue No. 459
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

Books Monthly supplement Antara

In search of an attribution
WhatOs in a painting? The potential for disaster, for one thing. Nigel Ryan reviews Headlong, a tale of vanity and ambition saved only by a thoroughly modern moral equivocation

Sayyid Qutb: Othe right to revoltO
Sayyid Qutb wa Thawrat Yulyou (Sayyid Qutb and the July Revolution), Helmi el-Namnam, Cairo: Meret for Publication and Information, 1999. pp150

Interpretation and beyond
Fate of A Prisoner and Other Stories, Denys Johnson-Davies, London: Quartet Books, 1999. pp222

Questioning the body, questioning the mind
Nawal al-Saadawi, TaOam Al-Solta wal Jins(The Twins of Power and Sex), Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, Cairo 1999 , pp258


A political scientist among the historians
The Social Origins of Egyptian Expansionism During the Muhammad 'Ali Period, Fred H Lawson, The American University in Cairo Press, 1999 (first published Columbia University Press, 1992). pp215

Ancient Egyptian windfall
* Egypt, Ancient and Modern by Isabella Brega, trans. C.T.M. Milan. The American University in Cairo Press, 1999. pp135
* Egyptian Luxuries: Fragrance, Aromatherapy, and Cosmetics in Pharaonic Times. Lise Manniche with photographs by Werner Forman. The American University in Cairo Press, 1999. pp160
* Ancient Egypt. David P. Silverman ed., The American University in Cairo Press, 1999. pp255

Intersection points
Al Jadid, vol. 5, no. 28, 1999, Los Angeles, Al Jadid


Sharing the self
Dikka Khashabiya Tasa Ithnayn Bilkad (A wooden bench barely wide enough for two), Shehata el-Iryan, Cairo: Aswat Adabiya (Literary Voices) General Organisation for Cultural Palaces, 1999. pp206
To the editor

At a glance
By Mahmoud El-Wardani

* Al-Hilal, monthly magazine, issue no. 12, December 1999, Cairo: Al-Hilal Publishing House
* Al-Arabi, monthly magazine, issue no. 493, December 1999, Kuwait: Ministry of Information
* Al-Kotob: Wughat Nazar (Books: Viewpoints), monthly magazine, issue no. 11, December 1999, Cairo: The Egyptian Company for Arab and International Publication
* Mirrors, Naguib Mahfouz, translated by Roger Allen, illustrated by Seif Wanli, Cairo: AUC Press, 1999. pp186
* Ibdaa (Creativity), monthly magazine, issue no. 10, November 1999, Cairo: GEBO
* Sotour (Lines), monthly magazine, issue no. 36, November 1999, Cairo: Sotour Publications
* Al-Thaqafa Al-Alamia (OWorld CultureO), Kuwait: The National Council for Culture and Arts
* Adab wa Naqd (Literature and Criticism), monthly literary magazine, issue no. 171, November 1999, Cairo: Progressive National Unionist Party publications
* Qadaya Fikriya (Intellectual Issues), occasional book, issues no. 19 and 20, October 1999
* Al-OOsour Al-Jadida (New Eras), monthly magazine, issue no. 2, 1999, Cairo: Sinai Publishing House
* Nizwa, quarterly magazine, issue no. 20, October 1999, Oman: Omani Corporation for Press, Publishing and Advertising


To see other book supplements go to the ARCHIVES index. 

Abla  

Illustrations courtesy of International Commitee of the Red Cross
"Folk drawings and tales", Cairo, 1996


At a glance

Al-Hilal, monthly magazine, issue no. 12, December 1999, Cairo: Al-Hilal Publishing House

The latest issue of this prestigious monthly includes its usual array of articles by well-established writers: Abdel-Azim Anis on the crisis of scientific research in Egypt; Aida El-Azab Moussa on the fact that it is time to retribute Africa for five centuries of slavery; Galal Amin continuing his series on "the manners and customs of modern Egyptians", this time discussing how Egyptian birthday celebrations have altered; and Mostafa Darwish taking stock of a century of cinema. In a special features section published on the occasion of the advent of Ramdan, Mohamed Imara writes about the Islamic Unity, Mohamed Ibrahim El-Fayyoumi about Orientalism and Islam, Safinaz Kazim on the reconciliation of religious practice with modern-day life, Wadie Filastin about his memories of the recent past, and Hassan Soliman talks about the lack of drama in our everyday lives. Finally, in a section devoted to the formative years of a well-known intellectual, professor of philosophy Salah Qonsowa contributes an autobiographical article.


Al-Arabi, monthly magazine, issue no. 493, December 1999, Kuwait: Ministry of Information

The latest issue of this well-known monthly from Kuwait lives up to its reputation of offering a broad range of articles on various artistic and intellectual topics. The magazine includes its usual sections dedicated to opinion articles, literature, arts, features as well as Al-Arabi's Library, a section devoted to book reviews. Highlights of the opinion section include the magazine's editor in chief Soliman Al-Askari's editorial on the challenges facing Arabs in the 21st century, Qassim Abdou Qassim's reinterpretation of history in the light of popular understanding, and Youssef Al-Qaradawi's article on the significance of the month of fasting. The literary section includes two poems by Shawqi Bzie' and Mohamed Farid Abou Se'da, a reading of Mahmoud Darwish's latest collection of poem's, Sarir Al-Ghariba (The Bed of a Strange Woman) by Zabia Khamis, a retrospective review of Taha Hussein's classic Fil Shi'r Al-Jahili (On Pre-Islamic Poetry) by Gaber Asfour and an article by Anis Fahmi on this year's literature Nobel laureate, Gunter Grass.


Al-Kotob: Wughat Nazar (Books: Viewpoints), monthly magazine, issue no. 11, December 1999, Cairo: The Egyptian Company for Arab and International Publication

Having by now established itself as one of the most eagerly awaited publications in the country, the 11th issue of Wughat Nazar is marked by the absence of the veteran Middle East political analyst Mohamed Hassanein Heikal's column which had in previous issues occupied the first pages of the magazine. Hopefully Heikal will resume his searing commentary on Arab politics after a period of convalescence following the successful surgery he underwent recently in the United States.
This issue leads with an article entitled "The State of Islam on the Threshold of a New Millennium". Written by the distinguished professor of law and Islamic thinker Ahmed Kamal Abul-Magd, the article deals with the various religiously inspired social and political movements that have emerged in the Islamic world during the 20th century and their impact on society. The central theme of the article revolves around how to put an end to the antagonistic relationship between the movements of political Islam and ruling Arab regimes. Abul-Magd's article is part of a larger section of the issue devoted to 20th century intellectual developments in the Arab world.
Besides Abul-Magd's piece, the literary critic Farouq Abdel-Qadir reviews the state of Arab literary creativity in this century, while Hoda El-Sadda reviews a hundred years of Arab women's struggle for liberation. Other highlights of the issue include economist Walid Khaddouri's review of Danial Yargin and Joseph Stansilow's book, The Commanding Heights: the Battle between Government and the Market Place that is Remaking the Modern World; a review by Radwa Ashour of a number of sites on the World Wide Web devoted to the Arab-Israeli peace process, entitled, "Brain Washing in the Name of Peace"; and Ashraf El-Bayyoumi's review of Antoin Zahlan's book, The Arabs and the Challenge of Science and Culture: Progress without Change, published by the Beirut-based Centre for Arab Unity Studies.


Mirrors, Naguib Mahfouz, translated by Roger Allen, illustrated by Seif Wanli, Cairo: AUC Press, 1999. pp186

This beautifully produced book , Mirrors, a joint venture of Zeitouna and the American University in Cairo Press, combines Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz's text, translated into English by Roger Allen, with the painting of Seif Wanli -- a fascinating series of verbal protraits and visual vignettes of significant Egyptian characters. Left: the portrait of Sayyid Shouayr, in Mahfouz's words "the real leader of the Abbasiya friends... Shouayr was loved, he was generous, a clown in play and a star on Ramadan nights."


Ibdaa (Creativity), monthly magazine, issue no. 10, November 1999, Cairo: GEBO

The focus of the latest issue of this well-known Cairo literary monthly is the work of the Egyptian critic, writer and thinker Louis Awad. He is assessed from a variety of angles, the poet Ahmed Abdel-Moeti Hegazi, editor of Ibdaa, contributing a personal memoir, the critic Ramsis Awad, brother of Louis, supplying an account of the private difficulties Awad confronted, Hamed Abu Ahmed discussing Awad's poetry and Talaat Radwan investigating his views on mainstream culture. Another topic discussed in this issue is the 1973 October War, with Mohamed Mahmoud Abu Aziz investigating the effects of the war on poetry in Hebrew, and an article on Jerusalem by Ossama Orabi. The issue includes translations of Lorca, and texts by Malak Abdel-Aziz, Hashim Shafiq and Abdel-Ghaffar Mikkawi, as well as reviews of the 11th Youth Salon and the last Cairo Experimental Theatre Festival.


Sotour (Lines), monthly magazine, issue no. 36, November 1999, Cairo: Sotour Publications

This issue of Sotour discusses the concept of fear, and features, among others, Ahmed Shawqi writing on the fear of the future, Talaat Radwan on 'the terrified woman', Saad El-Qirsh on the fear of happiness, and Yehya El-Rakhawi on fears of inferiority. On a lighter note, there is an extended, revealing interview with the Moroccan critic Mohamed Berrada, other highlights including a study of the works of the Libyan writer Ibrahim Al-Kawni.


Al-Thaqafa Al-Alamia ('World Culture'), Kuwait: The National Council for Culture and Arts

This bimonthly cultural magazine, published in Kuwait and concerned primarily with translation, tackles a whole range of subjects in its latest issue, from the late phase of Capitalism to the new petroleum republics in formerly Soviet Central Asia, the stereotyping of women by the media to the continuing fascination of George Lucas's modern epic, Star Wars. The highlight of the issue, however, is a section devoted to music, and this includes long articles on 20th-century classical music, folk music around the world and the history of Blues.


Adab wa Naqd (Literature and Criticism), monthly literary magazine, issue no. 171, November 1999, Cairo: Progressive National Unionist Party publications

To the latest issue of this long-running cultural monthly, issued by the Al-Tagammu' Party, a new section has been added. Entitled 'Tittle-Tattle', it is devoted to lighter topics and humour, and features Ghada Nabil on the absurdities of the Marcel Khalifa trial in Lebanon, as well as both Ahmed Ezz El-Arab and Helmi Salem on the late Cairo belly-dancer Tahia Carioca. The section of the periodical devoted to poetry celebrates the work of a writer from Kazakhstan, Ahmed Khan Abu Bakr, whose work is translated and presented for the Arabic-speaking reader by Ahmed Mustafa. Other highlights include a review of Murad Wahba's latest book and an investigation of racism in children's literature written in Hebrew by the Palestinian critic Antwan Shalhat.


Qadaya Fikriya (Intellectual Issues), occasional book, issues no. 19 and 20, October 1999

In 509 generous pages, the latest issue of this prestigious 'occasional book,'edited by the distinguished Egyptian critic and writer Mahmoud Amin El-Alim, deals with three main, interrelated topics, emphasising their importance for Arab intellectuals. These topics are globalisation, modernism and post-modernism, and within the framework of each an impressive array of well-established thinkers contribute more narrowly focused articles written from their respective disciplinary perspectives. Highlights include an extended introduction by El-Alim on the general concept of globalisation. Mohamed El-Sayed Said, on the other hand, writes on globalisation and cultural values, while Faris Abi Saab tackles the problematic of Arabs vs. modernism. The distinguished economist Samir Amin discusses whether post-modernism constitutes a transcendence or a development of modernism, supplying a seething critique of current world affairs. Finally, Amina Rashid, on a more subjective note, deals with the disturbed self, divided, in its search for modernism, between post- and pre-modernism.


Al-'Osour Al-Jadida (New Eras), monthly magazine, issue no. 2, 1999, Cairo: Sinai Publishing House

The second issue of this promising new monthly features a transcript of the second part of a symposium on Moses and Akhenaten, in which, among others, Ahmed Osman, Samir Amin and Ahmed Fouad Selim participated. There are also short stories and poems by Mustafa Zikri, Khalid Ismail and Ahmed Hassan, and, as was the case in the previous issue, a good many translations. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this publication is the emphasis it places on the history and practice of religion, to which a whole section is devoted in the current issue. Abdel-Hakim Haydar, finally, writes about the music of Ammar El-Sheri'i.


Nizwa, quarterly magazine, issue no. 20, October 1999, Oman: Omani Corporation for Press, Publishing and Advertising

Besides the fascinating opening piece on Omani bird life, this issue of the well-known Omani quarterly includes a number of interesting features, dealing with subjects as various as the fictional world of novelist Selim Barakat, St Anthony, and translation as a means towards inter-cultural dialogue. Amin Saleh translates the diary of filmmaker Andrei Tarkovski, while André Shedid, Ahmed Yamani and Salim Al-Hamidi, among others, contribute literary texts. The issue includes a review of Egyptian novelist Gamal El-Ghitani's last collection of short stories, an overview of the work of the late Egyptian writer Yehya El-Taher Abdallah, an investigation of contemporary Jordanian cultural life and a discussion of the alternative literary forum Al-Kitaba Al-Okhra.

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