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 a novel genre in Arabic literature. His books are a rich record of the tragic tensions attendant on a nations''s quest for freedom and modernity. In 1988 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
This is the only comprehensive study of Mahfouz''s achievement. Rasheed El-Enany presents a systemic 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 laid throughout on elements of continuity in his work, whether thematic or aesthetic. In particular, Dr 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 of these forms recur throughout Mahfouz''s varied and experimental writings. This book is the story of Mahfouz''s struggle to free his novels from the prevalent, predominantly Western moulds and to express his own socio-political thought within the Arabic inheritance.