Alexandria: City of Memory

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Yale University Press, 2004 - History - 368 pages
3 Reviews

This book is a literary, social, and political portrait of Alexandria at a high point of its history. Drawing on diaries, letters, and interviews, Michael Haag recovers the lost life of the city, its cosmopolitan inhabitants, and its literary characters.
Located on the coast of Africa yet rich in historical associations with Western civilization, Alexandria was home to an exotic variety of people whose cosmopolitan families had long been rooted in the commerce and the culture of the entire Mediterranean world.
Alexandria famously excited the imaginations of writers, and Haag folds intimate accounts of E. M. Forster, Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, and Lawrence Durrell into the story of its inhabitants. He recounts the city’s experience of the two world wars and explores the communities that gave Alexandria its unique flavor: the Greek, the Italian, and the Jewish. The book deftly harnesses the sexual and emotional charge of cosmopolitan life in this extraordinary city, and highlights the social and political changes over the decades that finally led to Nasser’s Egypt.


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User Review  - Poquette - LibraryThing

Certain places possess those elusive qualities which fill us with that sense of je ne sais quoi. Is it awe, or is it merely that we are carried away by a contagious energy, enthusiasm or excitement ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KeithMiller - LibraryThing

Of the triumvirate of Alexandrian literary giants of the early twentieth century - Constantine Cavafy, E. M. Forster, and Lawrence Durrell - Cavafy is perhaps the guardian spirit. His poetry provides ... Read full review


A Tram with a View
Alexandria from the Inside
If Love is Eternal
High Society A History and A Guide
Mixed Doubles as Usual
Personal Landscape
Prosperos Tower
The Unburied City
A Passage from Alexandria

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About the author (2004)

Michael Haag is a writer, photographer and publisher. He published and provided the afterword and notes to the first British edition of E. M. Forster’s Alexandria: A History and a Guide, and he is the author/photographer of Alexandria Illustrated (The American University in Cairo Press).

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