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Egypt's Culture WarsPolitics and Practice$
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Samia Mehrez

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789774163746

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774163746.001.0001

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From thehara to the imara Emerging urban metaphors in the literary production on contemporary Cairo1

From thehara to the imara Emerging urban metaphors in the literary production on contemporary Cairo1

Chapter:
(p.144) 8 From thehara to the imara Emerging urban metaphors in the literary production on contemporary Cairo1
Source:
Egypt's Culture Wars
Author(s):

Samia Mehrez

Publisher:
American University in Cairo Press
DOI:10.5743/cairo/9789774163746.003.0010

Whereas the hara represented the well-ordered urban fabric of the old city, the imara has come to embody the contradictions of the global face of the mega-metropolis. This chapter looks at four Egyptian contemporary novels that offer complementary representations of the imara as an emerging urban metaphor. A close reading of these texts helps one to trace many of the changes in Cairo's urban fabric during the second half of the twentieth century. By examining four Egyptian novels of the 1990s—Sonallah Ibrahim's Dhat, Hamdi Abu Golayyel's Lusus mutaqa'idun (Thieves in Retirement), Alaa Al–Aswany's Imarat Ya'qubyan (Yacoubian Building) and Mohamed Tawfik's Tifl shaq ismuhu Antar (A Naughty Boy Called Antar)—the discussion maps out some of the new spatial and social forms of polarization within the mega-city.

Keywords:   Egyptian literature, Naguib Mahfouz, Gammaliyya, Sonallah Ibrahim, mega-metropolis, polarization, Alaa Al–Aswany, Mohamed Tawfik

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