Naguib Mahfouz is the most important Arabic fiction writer of this century. Born in 1911, his long and prolific writing career represents the evolution of the novel genre in Arabic literature. His books are a rich record of the tragic tensions attendant on a nation's quest for freedom and modernity. In 1988 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Naguib Mahfouz is a comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to the writer and his accomplishments. Rasheed El-Enany presents a systematic evaluation of the author's life and environment; local and foreign influences on him; elements of his thought and technique and the evolution of his craft. While each work is discussed individually, emphasis is placed on the thematic and aesthetic elements of continuity in his work.
In particular, El-Enany challenges the traditional classification of Mahfouz's work into four chronological phases historical, realist, modernist, and indigenous or traditional. It is demonstrated that elements ofthese forms recur throughout Mahfouz's varied and experimental writings. This book is the story of Mahfouz's struggle to free his novels from prevalent, predominantly Western molds and to express his own socio-political thought within the Arabic inheritance.